Jennifer Thomas is a bestselling author, psychologist, speaker, consultant & apology critic

Tiger Woods has Trouble but Nike, Gatorade, and His Wife Stand Beside Him.

Tiger Woods posted this statement on his website ( on 11/29/2009:

As you all know, I had a single-car accident earlier this week, and sustained some injuries. I have some cuts, bruising and right now I’m pretty sore.
This situation is my fault, and it’s obviously embarrassing to my family and me. I’m human and I’m not perfect. I will certainly make sure this doesn’t happen again.
This is a private matter and I want to keep it that way. Although I understand there is curiosity, the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible.

The only person responsible for the accident is me. My wife, Elin, acted courageously when she saw I was hurt and in trouble. She was the first person to help me. Any other assertion is absolutely false.

This incident has been stressful and very difficult for Elin, our family and me. I appreciate all the concern and well wishes that we have received. But, I would also ask for some understanding that my family and I deserve some privacy no matter how intrusive some people can be.

My analysis: I will comment on what Tiger has said, rather than speculating on the cause of his car accident.  Here are the Five Languages of Apology that Gary Chapman and I developed based upon research for our (2006) book by the same title.

1. Expressing regret- Saying “I’m sorry for the hurt I’ve caused”

2. Accepting responsibility- Saying “I was wrong.”

3. Making restitution- Asking, “What can I do to make things right?

4. Genuinely repenting- Stating that you will try not to do it again.

5. Requesting forgiveness- Asking, “Will you please forgive me?”

My brief analysis of Tiger’s statement:

He accepted fault and stated that he was the only person to blame (#2). Tiger stated that the situation was embarrasing (#1), and he said that he won’t let it happen again (#4). Some of Tiger’s defensiveness (probably understandable given the media glare on him) shows through in his assertion that he is “not perfect.” If I had crafted his statement, I would have omitted that part.

Tiger is a gifted player- I’m glad he’s OK and I hope he’ll soon be able to return to his sport.

Note: Tiger made a formal public apology on 12/2/2009.  That apology is detailed on a blog that gave the apology top ratings.  For my money, I’d hold out for him to consider getting treatment for his sexual demons, make restitution for his errors, and request forgiveness from those whom he has hurt.


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