WASHINGTON — US media on Saturday dissected with gusto golf star Tiger Woods’s very public apology for his private mishaps, with some welcoming his professionalism while others were angered by his tone.
The New York Times television critic Alessandra Stanley said the golf great’s first public remarks since revelations of his extramarital dalliances were double edged.
“An open, vulnerable confession by a notoriously disciplined and self-contained professional athlete, and a highly expert and disciplined performance by a young golfer with little experience in show business or politics.”
Woods, with 14 majors to his name and a fortune built on endorsements, may have delivered an apology “out of sync with his button-down public demeanor, but it was very much in line with his sportsmanship,” Stanley added.
“And that’s something that no athlete — or politician — can match.”
The Washington Post noted that Woods, known for his control, had thoroughly rehearsed his presentation to a small crowd of handpicked friends, taking no questions.
“He tried very hard to sound humbled. He didn’t pull it off,” wrote Post contributor John Feinstein.
“The one surprise in the entire 14-minute monologue came at the end when Woods said he does not know when he will play golf again and implied that he was still a long way from returning,” he added, noting that many observers thought the world number one would be back in April for the Masters.
Writing on The Huffington Post news website, public relations consultant Douglas Forbes asked what all the fuss was about.
“People, are we kidding ourselves? Does the world spin on a different axis because of what Tiger Woods does on or off the course?” he asked.
“The dude duped a lot of people who thought he was a saint. And his sponsors and charity took a big blow to the gut. But at the end of the day, idol worship is devilish stuff to begin with.”
For Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, “what happens to Tiger and his family is between Tiger and his family. Not our place.
“The golf game is another matter. Tiger Woods has made more than a billion dollars selling his game and his image. The image just took a huge hit, but we are a forgiving people. He’s never going to be the same, but he can come back. Everybody deserves another chance,” he added.
Not too convinced by Tiger’s apology, the Los Angeles Times drew a parallel with embattled carmaker Toyota.
“The golfer and the carmaker are both beneficiaries of the way popular culture seems to be blending two powerful social forces — the culture of celebrity and brand loyalty — into a single new commercial imperative,” wrote columnist Tim Rutten.
“Who cares what Tiger Woods did in bed or with whom? Isn’t that an issue for him and his wife to sort out? Why not either watch the guy play golf or forget him?
“There’s the rub, and his dilemma: Neither the PGA nor his sponsors can afford to let you forget Tiger Woods the brand any more than Akio Toyoda can afford to let you forget the Prius,” the column read.
Across the pond, The Times of London wrote that “what the speech lacked, in any tangible sense, was authenticity.
“If Woods hoped his performance would engineer redemption in the eyes of the world and, more importantly, the corporations that he yearns to win back, he surely failed.”
The Guardian had a sarcastic take, noting that “a light-hearted person talks sitting down.
“As soon as Woods started talking (standing), though, he looked like an Internet video of a kidnapped person who’s about to be executed by terrorists,” the paper said.
“Haunted, beseeching, desperate yet impersonal — all he needed was some armed men standing behind him in balaclavas.”