Tiger Woods was interviewed by The Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman today.
When she asked how things got so out of control, he stated "Going against your core values... I quit meditating... I felt I was entitled... and consequently, I hurt so many people by my own reckless attitude and behavior." Tiger went on to say that he tried to stop and he couldn't stop. This is the most dedicated, disciplined and focused athlete of all time we're talking about -- and he couldn't stop. Once you get away from your core values, you are in danger of losing total control. It can happen to anyone. It has happened to most people at one time or another, in some form or another, but most people don't have their entire life under the scrutiny of the planet. We all fall short, and there are a thousand ways to fall short. Maybe you're not giving your employer your best, maybe you're not present for your children, maybe you're abusing substances like drugs or alcohol. Insert your flaw and most of us are just like Tiger in some way. Tiger's shortcomings are no different than the rest of ours, even if his are much more public. Even the pope is not immune to scrutiny, as we are seeing in recent news reports.
When Kelly asked Tiger about his schedule this year, he said something very telling. He said he didn't know, with all of the things he's done. Note that he didn't say "with all of the things that have happened to me," he said "with all of the things I've done." That speaks volumes. My father was an alcoholic and a smoker who died of lung cancer and diabetes. He was distant emotionally from his four children. He was also violent to my mother for many years until she left him, which probably saved her life. He changed his ways late in life, after he learned through therapy to own up to the things he had done. Thank God he became a changed man before he died. I'm happy that I didn't inherit my father's most abusive traits, but like him, I struggle with how to be there as much as I should for my child. I've been there for many of the major moments, but have missed far too many of the little moments in her life. I'm just now learning that those little things add up in importance and become bigger than the big things. I'm learning from some good mentors and I'm hoping to be more present for the next 18 years of my daughter's life than I was for her first 18. I'm happy for Tiger that he seems to have learned a valuable lesson that can, perhaps, reshape and save his most important legacy -- his legacy in his own family.
Tiger says that the members of his inner circle had no idea what he was doing and that they didn't aid him in his escapades. If that's true, then he was even more masterful in his addiction than in his golf prowess. For the most recognized athlete on the planet to get away with fooling so many people for so long is akin to winning the grand slam every year for many years running. He wasn't just good at deception, he was great at it. But, in the end, the truth always comes out. My truth is that I've spent so much time over the years helping others that I've fallen short with some of the people closest to me. That's going to change. I hope to become a little better at that every day.
Kelly asked Tiger about the 12-year-olds and families that have been affected by his actions. He said that he's trying to become a better person every day. Yup. I know how you feel, Tiger. When she asked him about his legacy, he said that he wants his golf game to be a vehicle to help a lot of people. He said that his dad used to tell him that in order to help other people, you have to learn how to help yourself. He said he didn't know exactly what that meant until now.
Tiger closed out the interview by answering a question from Kelly about a bracelet he was wearing. He said it's for protection, basically for him to be aware of his surroundings and temptations. I wear something similar. I wear a ring made by a friend of mine. It's called "The Lord's Ring." It reminds me every time I look at it about the commitment that Jesus made for me. It reminds me that He gave his life for me when He didn't have to. It reminds me that He lived his life as a lesson for me to learn from. It reminds me to be selfless and a better husband, father, friend and son. I will never live up to the standard Jesus set, but then again, that's why He came here -- to bridge the gap between our flaws and the entrance to the pearly gates.
Most of us have role models that, if put under a microscope, would be shown to have mighty flaws. Most people just don't have cracks in the surface, they have chasms and wounds that are deep and flaws that if illuminated are rugged and shameful. Tigers flaws were exposed to the world in a way that most only fear to be exposed to their Maker at the entrance to the pearly gates. He has publicly owned up to his mistakes and is getting professional help. Our role now should be to forgive, support and acknowledge that we too are flawed and we all need help. I'm an author of a book called "The True Champion's 30-Day Challenge," yet my life is far from having been perfect. In fact, some of what makes the book helpful is because of the mistakes I've made and the lessons I've learned. I've been able to use my flaws to help other people so that hopefully they can use what I've learned through my own faults to make their life better. I guess all of the things I've done and experienced in my 46 years have enabled me to truly know what is good and what is bad, what brings favor and what brings destruction. My first marriage was a huge failure, I've tanked a few times in business, and although I have a lot of good friends, I've also hurt people along the way. I love my daughter, but I'm not even close to being the father that I want to be. I hope to learn and get better every day at that and many more important things. Tiger the golfing role model has influenced my game in some very good ways. Now, Tiger the recovering human being has opened up a vulnerable side of himself that I'm thankful to see. I hope and pray that he will seek to improve in those areas of his life where he has fallen short, and I hope he is successful every day of that journey. That is a journey of a lifetime. Tiger the human being has reminded me, and hopefully you, that we all fall short and we all need to have accountability partners in our life to help keep us on the right path so that we don't find a way to justify our shortcomings.
Now, pardon me but I've got to go call my daughter to talk about the little things. It's time I did a better job at living out one of my core values. Thanks, Tiger, for reminding me by being so transparent. Your greatest strength to date may just be your willingness to discuss your flaws.