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An Open Letter to Tiger Woods

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Dear Mr. Woods:

Tiger Woods
I've been unintentionally following your private life -- including yesterday's announcement of your divorce -- and I want to apologize for inadvertently intruding. Based on what I've been exposed to, it's clear that you have your hands full with marital and family challenges. However, being that the public at large has become polarized (choosing either to join the Tiger-bashing bandwagon or commend you for your womanizing), and being that I have no shortage of opinions myself, I want to weigh in.

Firstly, I want to applaud your initial silence and "bowing out" of providing a public apology. As a 17-year marketing veteran, I could plainly see the need for crisis management. And if I were your PR consultant, I would have been BEGGING you to issue a public statement and to "control the spin" right from the start. However, as a man, father, husband and relationship expert, I can only say that your silence was respected -- and your televised (and largely scripted) apology and press release announcing your divorce were unnecessary.

After all, you caused irreparable damage to your marriage, so your efforts belonged there, not on giving an apology to people you don't know and have never met. You are a professional athlete, nothing more. I marvel at your exploits on the golf course, but you don't owe me an explanation as to why you weren't faithful to your wife. That explanation was due to her -- not to me, not to your fans and not to the public.

Secondly, while I would never condone what you have been accused of doing, I would implore you to not take the public's opinion too much to heart (much easier said than done, I know). Please note that public opinion is jaded, based on limited information and (most importantly) anonymous. Not only would the anonymous masses NEVER have the guts to confront you directly with the statements they so easily post as comments on news articles (and maybe even this letter), but many of the people judging you so harshly are themselves guilty of infidelity. (I'm posting this on a Friday, so they may even have a date with the "other woman/man" this evening.)

And even if you were an insincere husband -- and you deserve whatever you get from your now ex-wife -- the public and I don't truly know who you really are, aside from whatever we are exposed to in interviews. So, while you may have failed miserably as a husband, you may be a stand-up guy in other areas of your life. My personal opinion (based on the aforementioned limited information) is that you gained too much, too fast, and your little indiscretions gave way to bigger ones ... with more chances taken. As such, you were bound to get caught. But that shouldn't brand you as a bad person, which brings me to ....

Thirdly, I can understand your sponsors abandoning you (controversy and/or scandal is never a friendly environment for a big brand), but I fail to understand the enormous pressure that the world is putting on you. A few months ago, a Time Magazine article sported the headline, "Can Golf Survive without Tiger Woods?" Umm ... if the entire sport is hinging on your fidelity, I think we have bigger problems to contend with.

In closing, I think you were looking to get caught (as all long-term cheaters are, or they would just discuss the options with their significant others), but you should stay silent and try to salvage what's left of your relationship with the mother of your children, as she tries to protect what's left of her dignity.

Either due to too much power or an inane desire for multiple partners, you sacrificed your character and honor, and you betrayed the trust of the woman you'd sworn to love. I hope she is able to move on, since any person deserves better than betrayal. And I hope you are able to find peace.

Sincerely, Charles J. Orlando

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