Danny Rogers: Tiger Woods hasn't convinced all of us, yet

Having just watched Tiger Woods' first 'grilling' by the media since the fateful night in November when he went head to head with a fire hydrant, one is astounded at how quickly a fallen hero can salvage his reputation with the right advice.

Danny Rogers
Danny Rogers

At the time of writing at least, the man who was up against the ropes at the turn of the year, being battered into submission by a volley of revelations about his private life, had regained his old swagger. Sitting confidently, sporting his Nike polo shirt and pristine Titleist cap, Woods addressed 180 accredited journalists in Augusta by their first names, calmly trotting out well-rehearsed lines.

The ill-judged and awkward legal statements about vague 'transgressions' were substituted with the type of therapy-speak that goes down so well in the US. He had fooled himself, he confessed. He had hurt those around him, for which he was deeply sorry. And now he was back on track, his priorities sorted.

Again it was too early to judge how the strategy would affect his performance on the lush courses of Augusta this week. But in a sense this is irrelevant. A more impressive achievement is the fact that he is out there at all. This is a sportsman who, only three months ago, saw his millions of dollars of sponsorship dwindling. Indeed, it is only six weeks since he falteringly predicted a return to competitive golf sometime 'this year'.

No, this was a resurrection of biblical proportions, fittingly completed a day after Easter Sunday.

Woods had recently been advised by Ari Fleischer, former White House spinner for George W Bush, and it showed - although the two parted ways a few weeks ago. Woods' staged 'mea culpa' conference in February was a masterclass in drawing a line under a media crisis - albeit three months late - and this week's event was an accomplished stage two.

We will now watch Woods lap up the applause at each hole, toss a ball into the star-struck crowd. We will soon see him win a big tournament, and his salvation will be complete.

But so far this has been a parochial strategy. Americans may swallow this sweet, thickly spread self-flagellation. Other audiences, including the Brits, are likely to be more sceptical.

Woods has cleverly managed to avoid many awkward questions. Until these are properly addressed, he will remain a deeply flawed hero for many outside the United States.

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