It took him almost three months, but with his press statement today in Florida Tiger Woods is finally on the right track. He’s either now getting sound advice or has decided to listen to it.
Having missed his “Letterman Moment” by not coming clean immediately after being found out to be a philanderer, he’s now done the next best thing. Although a number of “crisis control experts” think he missed the mark, they’re wrong.
Let’s examine those naysayers’ complaints one by one.
1) He Left It Too Long To Come Clean
Once he let the Thanksgiving Weekend go by without comment it was already, and always would be, “too late to come clean.” But once those few days passed it was better for him to get a clear view of his situation, decide what steps he was going to take, and start taking them before appearing before the public. In addition to his emotional trauma there’s also the possibility that he had some physical injuries that had to heal.
2) It Should Have Been A Real Press Conference
It’s probable the forty or so people in the room were all among those to whom he felt a face-to-face apology was owed. Making it an open event would significantly diminish that effect, and doing it this way killed two birds with one stone: he reached them and the general public.
3) He Should Have Had His Wife and Children There
Not so. His children are so young that they would be nothing more than props; and his wife’s absence was sufficiently covered by his comment that she made it clear to him that her forgiveness would come from his actions, not his words. As he hasn’t had enough time to establish the validity of his actions, it would have been hypocritical in the extreme to have her there.
4) He Should Have Had A Question Period
Again, not so; for the simple reason that he doesn’t yet have all the answers.
5) His “Characteristic Arrogance” Came Through by his Scolding the Media
When he told the media to “Leave my family alone!” it wasn’t his characteristic arrogance that came through, it was his characteristic protection of his family that came through, a position he’s always taken. Upon hearing that members of the media were following his two-and-a-half-year old daughter to school, my reaction was that he let them off lightly.
The next step will be critical in the rehabilitation of his reputation. That step will have to be the completely open press conference, complete with no limitation on questions that the hounds wanted today. But, like today, he shouldn’t do it until he has all the answers.