Tiger came out of hiding today.
Tiger Woods has come out and read his speech and followed the coaching of his public relations people – looking around at the audience – meeting their eyes – looking into the camera – meeting the home viewers eyes – and did his best attempt at a sincere apology.
A quick glimpse of his Mum in the audience revealed a very sour faced Mrs. Woods.
What did it mean?
Honestly – it meant nothing. It was an item on a to-do list. An agenda item that can now be marked completed.
A line item in a project plan on the critical path to Tiger's return to golf.
Was it successful?
It didn't have to be.
It merely had to be done.
He pulled it off without a smile.
He nailed the landing like a Russian figure skater at the Winter Olympics landing a quadruple sow-cow.
"Did anybody buy it?", he may very well have asked as he walked out of the building and got into a waiting helicopter to fly him back to his yacht called Sanctity.
"They didn't have to, Mr. Woods", would say the polished public relations assistant escorting him.
And he clicked the item completed on his blackberry calendars' list of agenda items.
It doesn't matter one little bit.
Tiger cheated on his wife. He cheated a lot. And to me, that is all between Tiger and his most beautiful wife Elin – a woman more beautiful and classy than any of the women he cheated on her with.
Will he do it again? Who knows. I don't need to know about it if he does.
Because while Tiger Woods has been away from the PGA Tour – the golf has stunk.
I have been an avid follower of the PGA for nearly thirty years now. From the end of Jack Nicklaus' dynasty in the 1980's to the present day.
And through the eighties and nineties I cheered for such lack luster personalities as Tom Watson, Tom Kite, Freddy Couples, Curtis Strange, Nick Price, and Ernie Els.
Only Greg Norman and Payne Stewart held any spark of personality. Both fairly colorful figures.
And John Daly. Everyone loves big John grip-it-and-rip-it Daly.
I remember being excited when Phil Mickelson came along – a young trickster of the short game setting up to put the golf world on its ear with his flop shots and stylish play around the green.
But then came Tiger. I watched him win all three of the U.S. Ameteurs in edge of the seat style and drama.
And then Tiger turned pro.
And then he won the Masters.
And then he won – good grief – a whole lot more than I care to research.
With excitement and drama and going for it – and pulling it off. Hooks around trees that then faded back after the wind caught it to make the shot in the shape of the letter S. On purpose.
And his name was Tiger.
And he was fun.
And he was cool.
And we thought he was as amazing a person as he was a golfer – albeit we were in denial and refused to acknowledge his thrown clubs and excessive cursing and rudeness at times to the fans.
Having lunch today – a good friend of mine told us the story of taking a young relative to the Buick Open. As he tells the story – it was 6:30 AM and Tiger was practicing putting on the green. My friend took his young nephew up to Tiger – when no one else was around – apologized for bothering him, and asked if Tiger would sign something for the boy.
"I'm not doing that today", said Tiger to my friend, and walked away. The young boy was crushed.
This was last summer. Before Tiger's world fell apart.
Would he have done that if a camera were there. Likely not.
So I think that it's fair to say that the persona of Tiger Woods is a fabricated one. Built to match and enhance the legend that his real skill has created.
Do I care?
Okay, truth be told, I fell for his image. Hook line and sinker.
But shame on me for being so naïve. Like Gomer Pyle used to say:
"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me".
Now during this period of absence – PGA golf has just been incredibly boring. Even the PGA knew it was boring – creating hilarious ads when Tiger returned to the Tour last summer to show us they knew that we knew that the tour was boring without Tiger.
And Phil Mickelson got caught cheating – even worse so than Tiger – during this period. He was caught cheating on the golf course – carrying a now-illegal wedge because of the grooves – and he knew he was cheating.
Tiger never cheated on the golf course. He swore – and he threw tantrums – but he never cheated on the course.
So what's next on Tigers' agenda?
Well, I guess he has to finish his rehab.
Rehab? For sex addiction?
Then he has to come out and tell everyone he is a new man.
And say "I'm sorry again".
And face reporters.
And answer questions.
And then actually play in a tournament. But it won't be much a golf tournament if all that is talked about is "Tigers back".
I can imagine the broadcast.
" … how do you feel about Tiger Woods returning to the PGA tour?" the reporters will ask every tour player in the event,
"I think it sucks!" – will think the Tour pro - you will see it in their eyes.
"Oh it's wonderful … He's done so much for the game … It's great to have the number one player in the world back again" will say the tour pro – every tour pro – in the accent they speak in – and a bogus smile pasted to their face.
Except maybe Boo Weekly …
"I'm gonna ask him if I can borrow his little black book …", would say Boo.
But one thing's for certain.
When Tiger returns this time, the PGA won't be hyping it up with any funny ads.