Hate to be Rude: Back to the future
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
If Tiger Woods changes in the way he outlined in his 14-minute speech and makes the highly difficult transformation into becoming a people person and a giver, he has a chance to be a world hero.
- Yes 48%
- No 39%
- Undecided 13%
1047 total votes.
A real hero this time.
That might be asking too much. He’s a golfer, not a Gandhi. All I’ve ever wanted from him are two things: The opportunity to watch him ply his trade, in an awe-inspiring way as when Mozart made music, and access in which he answers questions in a professional manner.
• Woods’ statement looked much better in transcript form than it did through wooden delivery. The message was more appealing than the scripted presentation.
• The statement might have been Woods’ greatest feat. After all, a golfer made the world stop for at least 14 minutes.
A golfer. And not just a golfer. A golfer making the most public mea culpa in the history of infidelity.
• Rehab has done what no golfer was able to do to Woods: Strip him bare, make him vulnerable like never before.
• It’s clear to me that people familiar with 12-step rehabilitation programs seemed more impressed with Woods’ address than many others.
They understand through experience.
• A close friend of mine who went into a similar program a few years ago – we’ll call him John B. – said the rehab process “involves ripping away all of the ego, the attitude, the entitlement that a person has. In rehab, trust me, (Woods) was a beaten man.
“He is now working on his self-esteem, trust me. It has been shattered. All his life, he has given people reasons to admire, envy and respect him. For the past three months, he has given people reason to mistrust, hate and pity him.
“When Tiger said that he now understood that the normal boundaries and rules apply to him, I knew that he was well on the road to recovery. When he said he was going back for more help after already receiving six weeks of treatment, I knew that he was serious about making serious changes.”
• Here’s an interesting take from Stanley Teitelbaum, a psychoanalyst who specializes in the psychology of athletes and is author of the book “Athletes Who Indulge Their Dark Side”:
“Through his stand on his right to privacy, (Woods) is making a plea as a broken man who wants to be left with a shred of dignity. But, as the world's most famous athlete, he doesn't have the luxury to insist on privacy, and in doing so he is defying the implicit agreement between celebrity athletes and the press, i.e. being available to field questions from the press comes with the territory of being a sports hero.
“Thus, in a way he is repeating the same pattern of expecting and assuming that he can do it his way, rather than according to the existing acceptable standards. He continues to feel that he has the right to orchestrate his availability according to his own timetable. By refusing to talk and take questions from the press, he is unwittingly participating in provoking them to cross boundaries in following his wife, kids and mother. It becomes a form of payback time, and then Tiger angrily feels abused and victimized by their actions.”
Hence, a vicious circle that Woods doesn’t need. But it’s an obstacle that’s in front of him.
• Woods’ caddie, Steve Williams, says he won’t tolerate heckling when Woods gets back to playing, according to an Associated Press story from Australia.
That sounds like emotional trouble ahead in River City. That also sounds like it might run counter to Woods’ stated goal of becoming more spiritual.
• At this point, after all those takes and the drama of the past three months, here’s how I feel about the Tiger Woods story:
Please just let me know the next time he’s on the first tee.
• The all-English final at the WGC Accenture Match Play probably played better in Leeds or London than in Peoria or Ponte Vedra Beach.
But then Ponte Vedra had the main event of the week.
• I’m upset we even use the word upset at the WGC Match Play. There were 29 so-called “upsets” last week out of the 64 matches there, meaning 45 percent of the matches were won by the lower seed.
Forty-five percent isn’t an upset. It’s a coin flip.
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Jeff Rude’s “Hate To Be Rude” column appears on Golfweek.com on Wednesday, the same day as his video show of the same name.