Tiger Woods is in Augusta Georgia’s Augusta National for this weeks prestigious Masters, but unlike President Obama, Woods held a formal press conference will no holds barred. President Obama has not had a formal press conference since July 09.
On Monday afternoon, a goateed Tiger Woods faced more than 200 members of the media for his first public press conference since the Thanksgiving night accident that blew the lid off his scandalous secret life. (Photos: View a slideshow of Tiger Woods at Augusta.)
There were no restrictions on topics — well, no spoken restrictions. Augusta National has a way of making its genteel voice heard louder than any scream. A reporter who tried to get too cutesy, a reporter who tried to embarrass Tiger or Augusta National — well, the Powers That Be at Augusta “would not look favorably,” as their parlance goes, on such a transgression.
And the result was a model of press conference decorum. Woods’ demeanor was relaxed, confident, at ease. He was far more smooth than in his previous public appearances, and he no doubt won back many critics. That smile there at right? That’s a pretty good snapshot of how the entire press conference went. There was honesty, light humor, and a sense of respect for both the game and the process.
Woods led off with a short opening statement in which he thanked the fans for his warm welcome, and noted how excited he was to be back playing golf. From there, 34 minutes of questions began.
To their credit, the media fired away from the word go. And to his credit, Woods understood the need to ask the questions, even if he didn’t answer all of them.
The very first question was about the night of the accident and why Woods failed to disclose any more information than he did to the police and to the press. His reply? “I did everything to the letter of the law.” He gave the extent of his injuries — “a busted-up lip and a sore neck” — but didn’t disclose their source or any further information.
Soon afterward, he was also asked about his connection to Dr. Anthony Galea and any potential use of performance-enhancing drugs. He answered definitively, noting that while he had interaction with Galea, “he never gave me HGH (human growth hormone) or PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs),” he said. “I’ve never taken any illegal drug in my life.” The extent of their relationship, Woods said, was in helping treat Woods’ injured knee in 2008 and 2009.