With a 13-minute speech that was covered on as many TV channels as a presidential address, Tiger Woods’ awkward public apology was surprisingly successful. But it wasn’t the puppy-dog eyes that did it for him.
Tiger walked to the podium tepidly. Absent was the confidence we’re used to seeing him display on the golf course. He was as stiff as the starched, light-blue dress shirt he wore and looked more annoyed than apologetic as if to say he was not only sorry about what he did but that his life had to come this.
The privacy that Woods pleaded for will most likely soon be his. We’ll forgive him and not because he denied rumors of domestic abuse. Or his treatment for sex addiction, but because, now that the drama’s winding down, he’ll go back to being the superb golfer we once knew—and never really cared about.
I was all aboard the Tiger News Express from the day he crashed his Escalade into a tree. I wrote about him on my own blog, and read every piece of commentary I could find. For the next month, every conversation I had, whether it was with family, friends or strangers, Tiger Woods served as the perfect icebreaker. There was an endless array of commentary and jokes, and I indulged myself in it all.
But now, the party’s over.
During the press conference, I saw the jokes made by others on Twitter, and I even Tweeted a couple of my own, but honestly, they weren’t that funny. Not as funny as the ones we used to make before Tiger said anything at all. I truly do believe what Tiger wanted most out of this apology is exactly what he is going to get: a deflated interest in his personal life.
The number of people who cared about post-scandal Tiger Woods was exponentially higher than the amount of people who cared about him when he was winning golf tournament after golf tournament. More eyes were on his public apology than the time he became the first African-American (and Asian!) man to win the Master’s. And in a public address that was only a quarter apology, but three-quarters public plea to leave his family alone, the message was clear to me: Tiger Woods would like nothing more than to go back to a world where most black people didn’t care about golf or golfers.
There are things we learned about Tiger in this public apology that we never knew before, such as his allegiance to Buddhism. Tiger attempted to squash rumors that suggested his wife had hit him or that he had used performance-enhancing drugs. When it came time to apologize formally, to give the statement he knew would be headline material, he looked dead into the camera and deadpanned, “For all that I have done, I am sorry.” But we won’t remember any of it.
Because let’s face it, we don’t care about Tiger Woods; we didn’t then, and we don’t now. We don’t care about the sport, the athlete or the sponsorships. What we care about is the lying, the cheating, the sex, the money and the fame that caused it all. We cared about the spectacular fall, and yes, we cared about the apology. But now, it’s back to normal, back to not caring about what Tiger Woods is going to accomplish next, and not caring about what is sure to be a spectacular rise back to his rightful place as the world’s best golfer.
Tiger Woods is going to be fine. He learned his lesson. The champion golfer will eventually return to his sport and, maybe, he and Elin will reconcile. But what about us? What about our lesson?
Our TMI-society is just waiting for the next social calamity. Tiger’s story has been followed more closely than the Haiti earthquake. When he wipes away the tears and takes it back to the course, my guess is, we won’t tune in. Game over.
Jozen Cummings is a writer living in Harlem, N.Y. He also hosts his own blog, Until I Get Married.
Jozen Cummings is the author and creator of the popular relationship blog Until I Get Married, which is currently in development for a television series with Warner Bros. He also hosts a weekly podcast with WNYC about Empire called Empire Afterparty, is a contributor at VerySmartBrothas.com and works at Twitter as an editorial curator. Follow him on Twitter.