ESPN must have been proud to land the first interview with Tiger Woods since he went from being famous to infamous. That was probably until they learned that The Golf Channel also landed an exclusive. So why the interview rush all of a sudden? My guess is that Tiger’s team finally wised up and realized the best way to defend himself in the face of all his mistresses coming out and releasing embarrassing information is for Tiger to talk publicly. They did that by scheduling these two interviews shortly after the Joslyn James sext messages were released on Thursday. As for the actual interviews, Tom Rinaldi did a good job hitting Tiger with all the right questions. Kelly Tilghman of The Golf Channel totally softballed all of hers. I’ll explain more but first watch the Tom Rinaldi ESPN Tiger Woods interview video:
Tiger took the first question and started filibustering, wasting no time explaining how he’s found religion. As soon as Rinaldi got the floor back, he went immediately into the Thanksgiving incident. Obviously Tiger allowed no leeway there despite being pressed twice and used a smart line that his team must have crafted “It’s all in the police report, it’s all public information.” When asked about issuing a public apology, Tiger explained why he did it by saying he wanted to apologize to the people who thought differently about him. He essentially admitted that he owed them an apology for what he did which is how I felt.
Tiger did a good job avoiding tough questions by answering with scripted lines throughout the interview. Rinaldi followed with another question I’ve been dying to have answered: for what was Tiger in treatment? Once again, Tiger said it’s a private issue. As Tiger went off on a tangent, Rinaldi brought him back once again asking who the person was that Tiger had turned into. Tiger of course didn’t answer but went back to his “I got away from my core values” explanation. He asked Tiger about the anticipated reception from the crowd and got Tiger to admit that he would want some cheers. Tiger even had to explain what it was like facing his mom and wife after all the info came out. Then, Rinaldi asked a question many people rightfully wanted an answer for: why did Tiger get married? Tiger must have known that question was coming because he answered quickly and swiftly.
In the end, Tiger did not answer much and he controlled the environment like usual. Nonetheless, I’m pleased he finally showed his face and answered questions difficult questions. It’s not as if he revealed personal details — he had the tough stuff scripted — so why didn’t he do this a long time ago? It would have gone a long way towards stopping the bleeding, like when he made more consecutive covers of the NY Post than 9/11 did because he was in hiding. Give it six months and everyone will love Tiger again. Book it.