Bob Lutz

Tiger may never have to answer

First of all, am I the only one who was upset that Tiger Woods' staged statement Friday morning delayed the start of "The View" on ABC?

Second, I just have to say that I'm tired of all the Tiger talk. He needs to get back on the golf course and forget about trying to convince the rest of the world he's the stand-up guy we used to think he was.

He's not. We get it. Nothing he can say will change that. And nothing he does matters, except to his wife, Elin, and their kids.

I won't go so far as to say that Woods' 13 1/2-minute speech was a complete waste of time. However, did we really need those props (people) in the audience? What was their purpose? To lend Woods moral support?

And how did they get a spot in the room? Who was the last to get in and the first to be refused a seat? Perhaps ESPN's Joe Lunardi knows.

If it sounds as if I'm making light of this spectacle, it's because I am. Yet I'm doing so with the knowledge that everybody in the free world was watching because there was nothing else to watch. Every network except Animal Planet broke into its regular programming to air Woods' coming out and since it was Tiger, I'm guessing Animal Planet regrets its decision.

Yet when Woods' speech was over, my reaction was: That's it?

I don't know what I was expecting.

Contrition? Check.

Remorse? Check.

Responsibility? Check.

Then I got to thinking. Really, all Woods did Friday was to say the right things. He was earnest. But anybody would have said the right things.

Ultimately, Woods took the easy way out. There was nobody to question him, and I doubt there ever will be. The old Tiger never did well with questions and I'll withhold judgment as to whether there is a new Tiger. I need more evidence than a contrived "news conference" provides.

Experts in the field of image recovery are working overtime to help Woods re-claim his. Integrity is slippery. You have it one minute, then you crash your SUV into a fire hydrant and the next thing you know you're a 24/7 TMZ.com star, your image as flattened as your back bumper.

I wonder who really wrote Woods' statement. I wonder how much he touched it up. I wonder whether he tried to memorize the words so he could focus more on looking into the camera, which he rarely did.

I was distracted, especially when Woods started talking about his re-dedication to Buddhism. He said he drifted away from the religion his mother taught him when he was young. Judging from the alleged number of affairs, it seems like more than a drift.

I wondered what Woods' wife, Elin, was thinking as he was reading. Was she rolling her eyes? Was she sobbing? Was she packing? Where was she? Does it mean anything that she apparently wasn't there with him?

I wondered whether Woods realizes the enormity of his transgressions. He was the most iconic athlete in the world and the same traits we admired — his steely resolve, his intense focus, his ability to shut himself off from the outside world — are now traits we question.

Woods is in an impossible situation. He can't prove anything to us, nor should that be his goal. He has to redeem himself to the people closest to him, then hope the belief in his redemption trickles down.

His every move will be watched and analyzed, just as his Friday statement has been. Columnists and pundits around the world — me included — couldn't wait to share their viewpoint of Woods' address.

Skepticism is rampant. So many who once revered Woods have turned against him. And those who didn't really care for him much in the first place are empowered to express their feelings with even more conviction.

It's easy to be anti-Woods because he has provided so much ammunition. Reading one arranged statement doesn't change that.

Woods goes back into treatment now, although he never mentioned "sex addiction." Those two words probably don't roll well off his tongue at this point.

I never thought I would say this, but I'm sure glad I'm not Tiger Woods.

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