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The Father Factor


A Tiger in the Rough

Tiger and Nike...Really?

So while we're on the theme of of father-friendly or father-focused ads, Nike released a new Tiger Woods ad yesterday, featuring the voice of his late father, Earl Woods. Here are the pearls of fatherly wisdom that he shares during this commercial (in which Tiger is eerily still and silent):

Tiger, I am more prone to be inquisitive, to promote discussion, I want to find out what your thinking was, I want to find out what your feelings are, and did you learn anything?

Oh, there are so many things we could say here - and many of those things are already being said. It's too soon, it's poor taste, it's ill-conceived, it's creepy. Not to mention the fact that who knows what Earl (with transgressions of his own) would say to Tiger.

You know what is interesting here? It's still all about Tiger. Flash back to his press conference a few months ago:

I knew my actions were wrong, but I convinced myself that normal rules didn't apply. I never thought about who I was hurting. Instead, I thought only about myself.

And now an out-of-context quote from his late father asks to know what Tiger has learned and what Tiger is thinking? Has Tiger asked the same of his children? His wife?

No, I'm not saying I want an ad with Tiger and his family and no I don't think they should be followed around paparazzi-style as they work through these issues. But, Tiger's "indefinite leave" to focus on his marriage and family and recover from what would appear to be a pervasive, rampant sex addiction has not even lasted six months.

No one can know if Tiger's heart has changed or how his family is healing...but I have a hard time believing that everyone is already well on the road to recovery and ready for tournaments and ad campaigns...even ad campaigns that are selling shame and penitence.

Clearly, Nike has accomplished what it wanted/needed to. We're all taking about this ad...linking to it...blogging about it. Tiger and Nike are back in the spotlight, but who knows where his family will end up?

Tiger Woods Press Conference Reaction

After making an utter mess of the institutions of marriage and fatherhood, Tiger Woods offered what appeared to be a very heartfelt apology today. But his wife apparently said it best: his real apology to her will come in the form of his behavior over time rather than his words.

In his prepared statement, Woods took full responsibility for his actions, which he termed as "irresponsible," "not acceptable," "selfish," and "wrong." He acknowledged that he did indeed violate the standards of marriage through his indiscretions, and that his children were also victims of his behavior. Clearly, Woods sees the link between marriage and fatherhood - he acknowledged several times, even if indirectly, that you can't be a terrible husband and a good father at the same time. It takes maturity to see that.

Woods deserves credit for criticizing the media's desire to follow his wife and children and be informed of the very personal decisions they will make during the coming months and years. Again, he acknowledged his own selfishness and he asked the media to focus on him, not them.

He also offered apologies to the families who he has let down who have urged their children to look up to him as a role model; another sign that he recognizes how many people have been affected by his behavior. Being able to look up to Tiger for his success in golf means nothing if his example as a husband and father is a terrible one. He certainly has a lot of damage to repair there to show children that real success has little to do with what one does on the golf course.

Overall, Woods' statement that best summarizes his apology is this: "I recognize I have brought this on myself, and I know above all I am the one who needs to change."

How sincere his apology was, only time will tell. For the sakes of his wife and children, let's hope that he is able to become the husband and father they deserve.

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