My dad was in advertising, which he considered real communication. He looked down his nose at public relations people, who he thought had "a magnificent grasp of the obvious," and who presented their commonsense advice in fancy packages over three-martini lunches and called each other "sweetheart."
Spending my days writing about public relations and my evenings watching TV commercials, I often beg to disagree with Dad's point of view. For one thing, I've never been called "sweetheart."
But Dad does chuckle from the grave when we hear PR counselors massaging their whiskers and telling newspapers what Tiger Woods "needs to do" with his statement.
As if they know something we don't.
Yes, it would be better if Woods answered questions from reporters.
Even better would be if Woods disarmed those questions, by offering an emotionally candid, exhaustive, Fidel-Castro-length explanation for everything that happened, how it came about, and how he and his therapist believe it came from a stolen childhood and an insatiable need for nurturing that he was starved for, as golf's early-anointed ubermensch, a young celebrity even as he entered college.
It would be great to get real insights about how he's sorting all this out and will be for a long time, how he thinks he'll be able to balance all that with his golf career and how he's almost grateful for the whole episode because it has shocked him into long-overdue introspection, and may give him a chance for a happier, more honest life.
Blah blah blah.
He's not going to say that, even if he has it in his bag, because if Woods does have one good impulse, it is the instinct to protect of his inner life from the media.
I'm a big Tiger Woods fan, still as interested in his career as ever, still wishing him the best, still looking forward to boring the living hell out of my grandchildren with tales of his golf exploits. He is my Babe Ruth.
So I'll be watching eagerly, of course, hoping that Woods convincingly communicates, or at least vaguely suggests a couple of things: 1. He's been on a journey and not just a forced march for public relations purposes. 2. He's learned something and really hopes to be a better human being.
Honestly, that's all I need to hear to be four-square behind him as he returns to golf and goes after Jack Nicklaus's records. And honestly, I'm not even sure I need that.
(Jack isn't the most charming guy in the world, you know; he's admired for the same reason Tiger is: It was inspiring to watch the bastard will a golf ball into a hole.)
After the Woods session, I'll post an analysis here, however brief, and however magnificent a grasp of the obvious.