After piling on the advice, the world's entertainment reporters huddled around TV sets and computer screens to observe Tiger Woods's public mea culpa. The address was a somber affair. He apologized to his fans, wife, and family, saying "I brought this shame down on myself." He spoke positively about Buddhism, saying it teaches him restraint, and regretted that he "drifted away" from the faith. As for his career, he said he doesn't know when he'll return to golf--he'll have to change his behavior first. Here's how the liveblogging chattering classes are receiving it:
Update 6: The Real Reason Tiger Apologized In the most cynical take yet, Australian pundit Owen Vaughan says this was all about staging his big comeback:
THIS was never a press conference to win back a wronged wife or a wounded family. It was wasn't even a press conference to say sorry to fellow players for dragging the game off the fairway and through the dirt
This was a press conference called solely to woo the networks and get the sponsors back on side (Gillette, AT&T, Tag Heuer and Gatorade, Tiger Woods wants you back).
If Woods could come across as humble and repentant as a preacher caught with one hand in the till and another up a waitress's skirt, then all would be well for his return to the game. Companies who had invested billions in his name could breathe a sigh of relief and look forward to healthy balance sheets again.
Update 5: Tiger Was Completely Insincere The Chicago Tribune's Steve Rosenbloom goes ballistic on Woods for reading from a script:
Look, in Spin Doctoring 101, they tell you that when you read a statement, you check your sincerity at the door. Nothing is coming from your heart. It’s coming out of someone’s computer. Stooge...
You know where he got really bad? When he was talking about his affairs and his marital future, and he had to continually look down to say "That is a matter between Elin and me." Eight words, and I think he looked down two or three times. Really? You need a script to tell you when to say something is public and something is private? Nice sincerity.
Update 4: Tiger Too Hard on the Press
The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz defends his own kind:
Tiger took plenty of whacks at the press. No one likes the press these days, but that seemed out of place... He said he understands the press wants "details and times that I was unfaithful," but decreed that a matter between him and his wife. That's fine, everyone in public life wants a zone of privacy, but it's not going to stop the stories.
Update 3: The Buddhism Factor In his address, Woods said Buddhism "teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously, I lost track of what I was taught." Manya Brachear at the Chicago Tribune speculates as to why he brought up his faith:
Woods' mention of Buddhism didn't come entirely out of the blue. The golfer's religion became a focal point in the scandal earlier this year when Fox News commentator Brit Hume suggested he abandon Buddhism and turn to Christianity for redemption.
Was Woods firing back at Hume Friday? Or did talking about his faith foundation add sincerity to his apology?
Update 2: He Was Too Tight-Lipped! Rob Shuter at Popeater calls the apology an "arrogant mess"--blasting him for not fielding questions:
While Tiger admitted during the press conference that he mistakenly played by different rules than everyone else, he was doing just that once again by not letting people ask questions and having it be a true press conference. Even the President takes questions from the media, Mr. Woods, whether he wants to or not. Or, maybe he's just waiting for the questions to come from Barbara Walters in a fancy prime-time interview instead.
Jeff Schultz at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution agrees, but was easier on Tiger: "My initial thoughts are that Woods appeared contrite, even if well-rehearsed. I would've liked to see him answer questions but he reiterated that that's a matter between he and his wife."
Update 1: It Was Heartfelt and Awkward, writes Frank James at NPR:
It was a tough speech to give obviously. Seemed very heartfelt and appropriately awkward for both the apologizer and the recipients. It's odd that Woods' handlers had him leave the stage through that door in the blue curtain. Why not have him walk off with his mother? Or his friends.