The Tiger Video: 5 Rules for a Great Cheater's Apology
The Tiger Video: 5 Rules for a Great Cheater's Apology
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Today, in the most highly publicized press conference ever, golfer Tiger Woods spoke to a small group of friends and reporters in his first public appearance since the revelations of his infidelity.  The prepared remarks lasted approximately 14 minutes and Tiger Woods took no questions.

Sadly, Americans have become all too familiar with the public apology from a cheating husband.  From President Bill Clinton in the '90s to more recent political figures like New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and South Carolina Congressman Mark Sanford.  The cheater's apology has become so popular that CBS has a high-rated, award-winning drama series, The Good Wife, based on the same premise.

Did Tiger's apology live up to the standards America has come to expect from an unfaithful husband?  See for yourself..


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Here are the five cardinal rules of a great cheater's apology.

The Wife References

Whenever a man apologizes for his infidelity, the first and only person on his mind should be his wife.  In the case of Tiger Woods, he made references to his wife, his marriage and his family throughout the entire speech and used his wife's name Elin 10 times.  To be honest, in a 14-minute speech he probably should have used her name more than that.

The Long Pause

Every public apology has a visual drumroll leading up to the main event, and Tiger Woods was no exception.  He started by saying "For all that I have done," and then he took a long pause, noticeably  swallows his pride, subtly wets his lips and finally delivers the second half of the line, "I am so sorry."  That excruciatingly long pause full of thoughtful, planned mannerisms is the hallmark of any great mea culpa.

tigerwoods-chestpat.jpgThe Hand Gesture

Another key part of apologizing is body language.  While most of Tiger's speech was quiet and still, he did have one dramatic hand gesture that was an important part to the whole performance.  He said that his wife and children were not responsible, and then he brought his hand to his chest while taking full responsibility.  Accepting the blame by making a gesture to yourself is a great way to convince people that you are truly repentant.

The Religious Awakening

Once all the apologies are out of the way, it's best to invoke God or spirituality to convince people that you're sincere about making amends.  Tiger's case is slightly different than most because, instead of being a lapsed Christian, he's a lapsed Buddhist.  But for the sake of a public apology, he vowed to return to his spiritual path in order to show a desire to improve his character.

The Future Preparation

It wasn't until the very end of his apology that Tiger Woods actually addressed the most important issue: his return to golf.  After getting through saying "I'm sorry" a thousand times, it's customary to preview your next steps, offering a look at what's to come.

Of his eventual return, Tiger Woods said, "I do plan to return to golf one day, I just don't know when that day will be.  I don't rule out that it will be this year."  That's the only actual bit of real news in the entire apology.  Sadly for the world of golf, his word choice might suggest that, even though he's not ruling it out, not returning this year might be the default plan unless something changes.


In today's society, all high-profile cheaters must issue this public apology.  What makes Tiger Woods different is that he's not a political figure.  He didn't get America's votes, he didn't swear an oath to the people and he never asked for people to put their trust in his judgment.  Instead, Tiger Woods plays golf, and he arguably plays it better than any other person in the history of the sport.

Tiger can apologize all he wants, but in the end, the only thing people will care about is whether he's playing and winning.  Until he returns to golf, he's just a guy who cheated on his wife, and there's absolutely nothing special about that.



(Image and video courtesy of CBS News)

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