At long last, a line is drawn against the excesses of celebrity

Tiger Woods offered more than atonement when he faced the world for the first time since his world collapsed beneath the weight of squalid sexual scandal.

He set himself the most difficult challenge any man can face – the challenge of creating a new life for himself and new values.

When he did so – while plainly fighting back the emotion which has been building over the months – many may have concluded that he was, from the bitterness of his own experience, throwing a new light on the pitfalls of a celebrity culture where a confession of personal guilt and responsibility is rarely offered.

In Britain, few will be able to resist the comparison with the recent problems of the former England football captain John Terry in facing up to similar revelations about his private life.

Woods yesterday accepted his responsibility for all of his problems, quite profoundly, and also made clear his determination to fight against his submission to the temptations of fame and wealth.

The world's best golfer – and arguably still the most charismatic figure in all of sport – spent 13 minutes soul-baring and apologising before a small gathering in Florida and a huge world-wide television audience. But he also gave an undertaking that will stretch, he seemed to recognise, every fibre of his resolve. He said he would attempt to remake himself. Naturally his self-flagellation inspired considerable cynicism around the world, not least from Britain's Sir Nick Faldo who criticised Woods for not naming the date he will return to the golf course.

However, there was another reaction to Tiger's confessional. It was one that recognised that he had done much, much more than deliver the predictable platitudes of a man attempting to wriggle out of a disaster of his own making.

Woods took every available morsel of blame for the implosion of the most stunning career in the history of his game and all of sport. He said he had let down everybody, his wife, his children, his late father, his friends, and all those around the world who had become his fans.

When he said that his life needed balance, and that he had strayed wilfully beyond the values imposed upon him by his father, a former colonel in the American army, and his Buddhist mother Kultida, whom he embraced at the end of his scripted but highly emotional statement, he was, at least to some, eloquently drawing a line against a celebrity culture where almost anything goes.

The key admission was that in his sexual adventures, in his submission to many available "temptations", he had felt "entitled". He had done the work, won the prizes, and his reward was to do whatever he chose.

"For all that I've done, I'm so sorry," he declared. He said he was the guilty one, and entirely so. His wife had not hit him, as was widely reported after the car crash near his home which began the unravelling of his life, not on the fateful night, not ever.

His more obdurate critics claimed afterwards that he should have invited questions and that his decision to face the world on a day which would distract attention from a golf tournament sponsored by the company who first dropped him in the wake of the revelation, was an act of petty malice.

They said that beneath the veneer of repentance it was the same old Tiger, arrogant, self-obsessed and still jealous of all his old status and privileges.

Yet what, you had to wonder, would questions have elicited, beyond the guilt and sense of grievous responsibility for behaviour destructive to all those around him as well as himself that he had expressed so emotionally?

Yes, perhaps he might have been invited to revisit the cocktail waitresses and the nightclub hostesses with whom he had spent so much of his time away from the golf course. He could have submitted himself to a trial of minute detail.

But what answers could he have provided of greater depth than his voluntary conclusion that he had behaved shamefully, thrown away half a lifetime of superb achievement? Students of addiction would have seen something of a pattern in the words of Tiger, a classic statement of the first priority of anyone locked into such a situation.

It is reappraisal of oneself, a willingness to put aside all the excuses and face up to the reality of your own behaviour.

Against these possibilities some of the headlines and blogs gushing forth in America, one carrying the headline, 'Hey, Tiger, apology not accepted,' seemed vengeful at best.

Certainly it was hard to dispute the weight of Woods's feeling when he said: "It's up to me to start living a life of integrity. I believe now it's not what you achieve that is important, but what you overcome."

Woods could not have set himself a more demanding challenge, and he suggested that along with the therapy he has received in an addiction, he will also seek the guidance of his Thai mother's Buddhism. "It teaches me," he said, "to stop following my impulses."

What was clear enough was that, despite the allegations of his critics, Woods was seeking no easy route back to the grandeur of his old life. There was no hedging in his statement of guilt and regret.

He said he was on the first stages of a long road to recovery – and in this he sought the help of those closest to him and all those who had cheered him on a winning fairway.

No, it wasn't any ordinary atonement. It was a man saying he had done wrong and wanted to do better.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
business
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Sport
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP SD OTC Consultant | 12Months

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP SD OTC Consultant | 12 Months | 500/...

Business Systems Analyst - London - £40,000 plus benefits

£35000 - £40000 per annum + substantial benefits: Ashdown Group: Business Syst...

Campaign Manager

£40000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Campaign Man...

JQuery Developer (JQuery, C#, front-end, JQuery, UI, Tomcat)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organ...

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil