Tiger Woods has given his first two interviews since last
November, finally answering face-to-face questions about his fall from grace -
and given the circumstances, he nailed it.
Some are calling for more, but as far as Bunker Mentality is
concerned it's not too little too late, but just enough and just in time.
Both interviews - one with Tom Rinaldi on ESPN, one with Kelly
Tilghman on the Golf Channel - lasted five minutes, but both saw Woods answer the
various questions honestly and often emotionally.
Neither interview really tells the full story, however, so Bunker
Mentality has arranged the best 18 best questions into a pretend 18-hole golf
course. Let's see how Tiger got on!
1. 464 yards, Par 4 - Tiger, you've been a master of control
your entire life, how did things get so out of control?
Going against your core values, losing sight of it. I quit
meditating, I quit being a Buddhist, and my life changed upside down. I felt
entitled, which I had never felt before. Consequently, I hurt so many people by
my own reckless attitude and behaviour.
Tiger's score: par.
A tough opener, and Tiger misses the green with the Eastern religion reference
so early on, but we reckon he just about gets up and down for par.
2. 189 yards, Par 3 - What's the difference between the man who left Augusta national a year ago
and the one who is about to return?
A lot has transpired in my life. A lot of ugly things have
happened. Things that.....I've done some pretty bad things in my life. And uh,
all came to a head. But now, after treatment, going for inpatient treatment for
45 days and more outpatient treatment, I'm getting back to my old roots.
Tiger's score: bogey
(+1 total). The world number one clearly wasn't well prepared for this one,
and carves his tee shot into the trees.
3. 565 yards, Par 5 - For a man who's so disciplined physically and psychologically, why couldn't
you say no?
I don't know, now I know. It's part of what I learned in
treatment, being there for 45 days you learn a lot. You strip away the denial,
the rationalisation and you come to the truth and the truth is very painful at
times and to stare at yourself and look at the person you've become you become
Tiger's score: birdie
(back to level par). Stripping away denial and rationalisation was repeated
a little too often during the interviews, but the first time TW used the phrase
it was powerful.
4. 401 yards, Par 4 - The Masters is a demanding stage on its own, let alone for a return of this
magnitude, how do you know you're mentally prepared for this?
I'm excited to get back and play. I miss the game. I miss
playing, I miss competing. I wasn't ready to play in Tavistock or play in Bay
Hill... I wanted to play in (those) events but I just wasn't ready. I started too
late with my preparation. Hank and I are starting to work now and start to get
Tiger's score: double
bogey (+2 total). A fairly easy one should have let him talk about his golf,
but Tiger puts his drive in the lake.
5. 475 yards, Par 4 -
For a lot of people, the spark of these bad things is November 27 (the day of
Woods's car crash). Early that day, what happened?
Well, it's all in the police report. Beyond that,
everything's between Elin and myself and that's private.
Tiger's score: Double
bogey (+4 total). A second consecutive double bogey - something Woods has
never done as a pro - as Woods messes up an admittedly tough one. He never
spoke to the police, therefore to say it's 'all in the report' just ain't true.
6. 155 yards, Par 3 -
If it's a private matter, why issue a public apology?
I owe a lot of people an apology. I hurt a lot of people.
Not just my wife. My friends, my colleagues, the public, kids who looked up to
me. There were a lot of people that thought I was a different person and my
actions were not according to that. That's why I had to apologise. I was so
sorry for what I had done.
Tiger's score; birdie
(+3 total). A very short, tough question, answered perfectly. This is more
like it now.
7. 440 yards, Par 4 -
You went from becoming recognized as the
greatest golfer in the world to becoming a punch line. How did that make you
It was hurtful, but then again you know what, I did it. I'm
the one who did those things and looking back on it now with a more clear head,
I get it. I can understand why people will say these things because you know
what, it was disgusting behaviour. As a person, it's hard to believe that was
me, looking back on it now.
Tiger's score: birdie
(+2 total). A very tough question, answered with disarming honesty. For the
first time the depth of Woods's regret becomes truly clear.
8. 519 yards, Par 5 -
You said you were in treatment. The simple question is, for what?
That's a private matter as well. But I can tell you what, it
was tough, it was really tough to look at yourself in a light that you never
want to look at yourself, that's pretty brutal.
Tiger's score: par (+2
total). Not a simple question after all. Was he being treated for sex
addiction or megalomania? But the world number one makes a great rescue shot with
a dose of honesty about how that therapy made him feel.
9. 419 yards, Par 4 -
For the 12-year-olds and the parents out there who looked at you as a role
model, what do you have to say to them to make them believe in you again?
It's going to be over time. It's going to be my actions over
time. I'm trying to become a better person each and every day. The proof in the
pudding is over time and that's what I'm trying to do. I will continue to do
Tiger's score: birdie
(+1 total). Another drive down the middle, shot to the green and single
putt for the great man. There's no way of talking his way through this: he just
has to take it on the chin and build from scratch.
10. 445 yards, Par 4
- Given all that's happened, what's your measure of success at Augusta?
Well, playing is one thing. I'm excited to get back and
play. I'm excited to get to see the guys again. I really miss a lot of my
friends out there. I miss competing. But still, I still have a lot more
treatment to do, and just because I'm playing, doesn't mean I'm gonna stop
going to treatment.
Tiger's score: par (still
+1). Yes, he completely avoids the question - but in doing so, and talking
about just wanting to get back out there, he's actually lowering the bar quite
11. 132 yards, Par 3
- What reception are you expecting from fans?
I don't know. I don't know. I'm a little nervous about that
to be honest with you. (Q: How much do you care?) It would be nice to hear a
couple claps here and there. But also hope they clap for birdies, too.
Tiger's score: birdie
(back to level par). A devilish
tricky short question, but by admitting his nervousness Tiger shows his humanity
- something that he never did before the scandal, and did very little of in his
13-minute apology speech last month. Spot on.
12. 350 yards, Par 4
- How well does the world know you?
A lot better now. I was living a life of a lie. I really
was. And I was doing a lot of things, like I said, that hurt a lot of people.
And stripping away denial and rationalisation you start coming to the truth of
who you really are and that can be very ugly. But then again, when you face it
and you start conquering it and you start living up to it. The strength that I
feel now, I've never felt that type of strength.
Tiger's score: eagle (he's
jumped two under par!). A short question handled extremely well. The
'denial and rationalisation' line gets used again, but Woods drives the green
on this short par-4 and rolls in his eagle putt. Just this question alone
effectively says everything everyone ever really needed to know.
13. 405 yards, Par 4
- How will your therapy affect your 2010 schedule?
Yeah, I will have more treatment, more therapy sessions. As
far as my schedule going forward, I don't know what I'm going to do, Kelly.
Last year I didn't know because of my knee; it was still uncertain, and this
year, with all the things that I've done I don't know what I'll be doing
either. That to me is a little bit bothersome, too, in a sense that I don't
like not knowing what to do, but what I know I have to do is become a better
person and that begins with going to more treatment.
Tiger's score: par (still
-2). His birdie putt looks like it's going straight in the middle - but it lips
out at the last minute as he uses the word 'bothersome'! So close!
14. 590 yards, Par 5
- It's been reported that members of your team, your inner circle were involved
in your misdoings, is it true?
That is not true; it was all me. I'm the one who did it, I'm
the one who acted the way I acted, no one knew what was going on. I'm sure if
more people would have known in my inner circle they would've, they would've
stopped it ... or tried to put a stop to it, but I kept it all to myself.
Tiger's score: par
(still -2). This answer has caused all sorts of controversy on the web as
it flies in the face of many of the allegations that have been made - but we'll
give Tiger the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he thinks of his 'inner circle' as
being a team of one.
15. 415 yards, Par 4
- Based on all that has transpired, what do you want your legacy to be when all
is said and done?
Just like I wanted before. I felt that golf was a vehicle
for me to help a lot of people. My dad had always said something that I never
really quite understood until these times. In order to help other people, you
first have to learn how to help yourself. Going into a treatment centre for 45
days, I learned a lot. I learned how to help myself and that's the way I can
help others down the road.
Tiger's score: birdie
(now -3). It might sound cheesy to talk about helping others, but just
think how ridiculous he'd have sounded by talking about 'greatest golfer ever'
stuff at this stage of his life. See? This is a tough long putt straight in the
16. 515 yards, Par 5
- In the last four months, Tiger, what's been the low point?
I've had a lot of low points. Just when I didn't think it
could get any lower, it got lower. (Q: An example?) When I was in treatment,
out of treatment, before I went in, there were so many different low points.
People I had to talk to and face like my wife, like my mom. (Q: What was that
moment like, either one?) They both have been brutal. They've both been very
tough. Because I hurt them the most. Those are the two people in my life who
I'm closest to and to say the things that I've done, truthfully to them, is ...
honestly ... was ... very painful.
Tiger's score: eagle
(now -5). He needed a bit of prodding and prompting, but gave it all up in
the end and people will respond to him for it. The look in Tiger's eyes as he spoke
these words made you realise that you wouldn't wish what's happened to him on
17. 232 yards, par 3
- How will you explain this to your children, one day when they're old enough
I will have that sit-down talk and it won't be just one
time, I know that. It will be numerous times and I take full ownership of it, I
did it. No one else did; it was just me and that's a responsibility that I will
have. I will talk to my kids, for however long they want to talk about it. That
is a conversation that will need to be had.
Tigr's score: birdie
(-6! The course record is on!). Tough question and well handled. After all
the months of silence Woods seems to be taking it on the chin - precisely what the
saddened millions wanted to see.
18. 499 yards, par 4
- If your father were here today and looked back on these last four months,
what would he say to you?
He'd be very disappointed in me. We'd have numerous
long talks. That's one of the things I miss, I miss his guidance, wish I could
have had his guidance through all this to have him help straighten me up. I
know he would've done it. (Q: What do you think he would say?) I can't say it
on air! But he would've been very direct. Basically, you need to get your life
headed in the right direction again.
Tiger's score: birdie
(Woods finishes on -7). Another tricky tough one to finish for a man who
idolised his old man, but Woods finishes in style to shoot a 65. Not bad for
his first 'round' back in action after four months off!
- - -
Quote of the week: "At this moment everything is all a big surreal. I really did not think much at all out there and it was all much of a blur. I just kept focussing on hitting the ball as close to the flag as I could, and holing every putt I looked at." - Welsh rookie Rhys Davies - the new Ian Woosnam - provides a perfect description of what top players describe as 'being in the zone'... even if he didn't seem to recognise it himself!
Nonsense of the week: Tiger Woods intentionally specified that his interviews couldn't go on air before 7.30pm so as not to distract from Jim Furyk winning the Transitions Championship in Tampa Bay. Except obviously they did anyway because that's all anyone could talk about, so why not just ask them to be held back until Monday?
Stat of the week: After coming third in Malaysia and winning ni Morocco, Rhys Davies is an outstanding 37 under par for his last eight rounds of golf!
Surprise of the week: We'd almost forgotten about the existence of Jim Furyk after he went nearly three years without a win, but fantastic to see one of the game's genuine gentlemen coming to the fore once again with a victory.
Shot of the week: You can't beat a nice hole-in-one, and Justin Leonard's on day two of the Transitions Championship in Tampa Bay was as good as they get: