Friday, February 19, 2010

Tiger's Talk

Tiger Woods did what he needed to do this morning. He apologized. He took the blame. His language was simple and direct. He didn't use weasel-word mistakes-were-made phrasing. He asked for privacy. He asked paparazzi to stop going after his family. He defended his wife.

But then he said he was going back to Buddhism, and that gave me pause. Tiger didn't take any questions, but I wanted to ask, "Mr. Woods, why are you going back to a religious system that failed you the first time around?" Yes, I know that's similar to what Brit Hume said a few weeks ago. But I'm speaking from my own experience.

My family took me to church nearly every Sunday as a child, when I was old enough and quiet enough to sit through services. I went to Sunday School. I went to "Youth Club" on Wednesday nights. But I still ended up falling away from church as a teenager. I hadn't gone to church regularly for approximately 15 years until I got right with GOD in 2007. When I was looking for a church, the Presbyterian church -- the one I was confirmed in -- was not my first pick. Why go back to a church where I wasn't connecting with GOD? I needed a fresh start and a new perspective, and that meant going to a new, nondenominational church.

Tiger is rebooting his life. That means tossing out everything that didn't work the first time. He talked about straying from the values he learned: "Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes an unhappy pointless search for security." I know he was talking about addictions, but those things outside himself were done for himself. At least he clarified it in his next sentence: "It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously, I lost track of what I was taught."

I also have issues with the timing of his speech, coming in the middle of the Accenture World Match Play Championships. Why couldn't Tiger have made this statement on Monday, before the competition got rolling? Even more curious, how did he swing a week off from addiction therapy? We'll just have to live with those questions for now.

I believe Tiger has earned a mulligan, to use the golf terminology. But now he's got to make the shot. He says his wife told him he will be judged by his actions from here on out. No hooks. No slices. Phil Mickelson skipped Match Play to spend time with his family. Maybe Tiger should be asking him for advice.

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