Tiger Woods is out of control

I think everyone realized within a minute of his “apology” this morning that Tiger Woods was anything but sincere when he finally spoke publicly about his well-documented actions.

Do you think Tiger wrote one word of that statement?

Obviously not.

It was not only appalling in its insincerity, but I actually was shocked in its aesthetics. Tiger, dude, did you really need it to be that staged? Having the hand-selected audience and the no-questions policy is understandable — we know you’re not “ready” for that next step in the process just yet

But the hugging of loved ones and close friends after the speech, followed by the walk of shame through the curtains toward continued rehab and therapy? A little much, don’t you think?

But that’s beside the point, as we’re aware that public relations firms exist for a reason. And Team Tiger clearly had some help with this one.

The most glaring realization that we all should have had on Friday — if we hadn’t yet had the epiphany back in November and throughout the winter when this story continued to break — is that the Tiger Woods brand that blossomed and reached unimaginable heights over the past decade or so is finished.

Forever.

It makes no difference whether or not he comes back and wins the Grand Slam this year or any other year — that won’t ever happen, by the way.

It makes no difference if he opens up to the media after a round of 18 or allows actual questions to be asked of him in a press conference setting. Notice how he was able to deviate from his own issues a few times and take a couple of jabs at the media during the session? It wouldn’t be a true disgraced athlete’s apology if someone else wasn’t blamed at some point.

Tiger looked like a beaten man on Friday — a shell of his former self. He looked fatigued and older, exhausted and dethroned.

But please don’t be fooled. Tiger likely hasn’t changed, and he likely never will change. He’s a celebrity, and he’s a product of the culture which celebrity breeds.

This has nothing to do with whether or not he will be faithful to Elin in the future. That isn’t anyone’s business but his and her own. What this does have to do with is Tiger’s need to answer only to himself and to be the center of a Tigerland where everyone answers to him.

At his “press conference” today, he admitted that he let many people down, including his family and close friends, those involved in the foundation that he started with his late father, business partners, sponsors and young fans. I hope those sentiments were sincere, but I fear that the words were hollow.

Tiger has always worked in very calculated ways, exemplified best these days by his stint in sex rehab. Sex rehab for a megastar celebrity-athlete? Likely just another act to show that he is making an effort to be faithful.

But that’s Tiger, always aware of his image and who has been able to exert such great influence over the world’s media during his rise to fame.

Those days, however, are now over.

If he wants to be re-branded as the family guy and hero everyone thought he was, sincere or not, he no longer can close himself off to scrutiny. He no longer gets the benefit of the doubt.

There have only been a few athletes who have attained such power over the media that they could essentially control every situation they put themselves in. Michael Jordan undoubtedly tops the list.

Jordan controlled the media during his time in Chicago, whether it was a reporter from the Sun-Times or Tribune, or a local TV or radio reporter. If you wrote or said anything negative about M-Jeff, your access to him and the entire Bulls organization was denied from that point forward. Nationally, there were only a few hand-picked journalists that Jordan allowed himself to open up to — again, on his terms. It was only when Jordan unretired and went to Washington that he finally began to realize that he was losing grasp of the control that once came so easily.

Barry Bonds enjoyed a similar setting in San Francisco, but on a much smaller scale and for a shorter amount of time. The steroid scandal obviously wrecked the Bonds Machine in the Bay Area, but even when that controversy followed him with the Giants he rarely spoke to reporters. And when he did speak, his words lacked substance.

LeBron James probably resembles Jordan the closest in terms of level of control exerted over one city and an entire league. The entire Cavaliers organization is James’ gatekeeper, and the situation is only magnified by him being a local product. It’ll be interesting to see how susceptible James becomes if he leaves Cleveland and goes to a city like New York or Los Angeles.

But no current athlete even compares to Tiger, who unquestionably had it all.

I frankly could care less about Tiger’s personal life. In fact, no one should care. But his efforts in essentially living a double life make us care when his actions affected so many.

Many in the national media may argue that Tiger came off as sincere in his apology and that he can rebuild himself into the Tiger that everyone once praised and glorified. I must admit that his people went all out today in making him look as remorseful as possible.

But Friday served as a perfect example of what lengths a narcissist will go to in order to come out on top. And Tiger Woods is a narcissist, concerned only with his self image. Thus, he is incapable of change.

Go back and re-watch M-Jeff’s retirement speech if you’re still not convinced. That was the MJ I always knew.

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