We'll get back to tournament clippings tomorrow, but I'd say after reading most of the first accounts I could find of Tiger's Monday press conference, the reviews were mixed to positive.
Paul Newberry writing for AP:
He dodged questions with rehearsed answers, refused to go into details about the therapy he sought or the state of his marriage, except that his wife won't be at Augusta National this week. But there was a touch of humility and patience in his voice during a 35-minute press conference. He even tried to call every writer by name.
Larry Dorman, New York Times:
In a performance that was at turns sober, earnest and vulnerable, Woods, 34, took another step in the atonement for a string of extramarital affairs that erupted into a scandal that cost him millions of endorsement dollars while shattering the illusion of an idyllic Woods family life.
After a morning that began with a cool reaction by fans at the first tee and ended with a warm ovation at the 18th green just after noon, Woods said he was overwhelmed by the reception given him by galleries at Augusta National Golf Club. Woods looked and sounded like the fresh young golfer who took Augusta by storm in 1997 by winning his first Masters — and the first of his 14 major championships — by 12 strokes.
Mark Reason in the Telegraph:
Tiger Woods took his questions like a man. Sweating profusely and fluffing his first line, he made no attempt to censor the media. He was articulate, he was moving, he was courageous and he failed to answer two huge questions. What caused his crash and just what is his association with drugs?
Steve DiMeglio, in what could be the longest USA Today story ever, shares this interesting pundit observation:
Mike Paul, president of MGP & Associates PR in New York, said Woods was his usual controlling self and that the news conference was a missed opportunity — for Woods and for the news media.
Paul cited Woods' reluctance to discuss his treatment and a "cocky" reply to a question about the crash that triggered the scandal.
How can Woods really claim he has "changed," asked Paul, when he hasn't changed his agent, Mark Steinberg of IMG, caddie Steve Williams or any of his business associates or hangers-on?
"The worst thing for an addict is enablers," Paul said.
Gene Wojciechowski for ESPN.com:
So while I'd love to jump headfirst into the new Tiger Pond of Trust, it's going to take more than Monday's 34-minute news conference to make me a full believer.
I want to believe, I really do. It's in our DNA to see someone's better angels, to take the leap of faith from distrust to trust. And no one in sports, with the possible exceptions of Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, has suffered more from a crisis in character than Woods.
Jeff Babineau calls it a "quintessential" Tiger performance. Here's what he means:
Well, the guy may have 14 majors, but you only get one time in life to watch your young son turn 1. That’s something the uber-private Woods would not have offered up in earlier stages of his career. Because missing that birthday enlists hurt, shame, embarrassment and ultimately, great regret. This is a guy who seldom allows a glance past the armor.
"Ronnie" Sirak gives a rave review of Tiger's performance.
For 34 minutes and 15 seconds Woods did what he has been unwilling or unable to do for five months: Answer questions about the events that undid the world's No. 1 golfer. Not everything was resolved -- we know he got five stitches in his lip the night of the car crash, but we still don't know how the injury occurred -- but he was straightforward in his answers.
We got few answers but it was straightforward?
John Strege offers this view at GolfDigest.com:
Presumably, Woods prepared for this news conference the way a candidate would for a debate, anticipating the questions he might be asked and how he would respond. That said, for the first time in three public appearances, his answers, for the most part, did not seem to have been rehearsed, at least to the extreme they had in the past.
Lorne Rubenstein writes for the Globe and Mail:
At the same time Woods demonstrated his uncanny ability to answer a question without really answering it. He answers what he wants to answer. He responds when he wants to respond. That’s his prerogative, and he takes it. So he really remains in control of these question-and-answer sessions.
Jason Sobel at ESPN.com about sums it up:
He addressed many questions. Others he dismissed. He was sincere, contrite and apologetic, but appeared more relieved than anything else. Relieved that he was clearing the air, relieved that he was putting much of this behind him, relieved that he could finally move on to the one thing that made him so famous in the first place.
James Lawton for the Independent:
He spoke eloquently about his situation at times. But what he couldn't do, and didn't seek to do, was attempt to cover up something that was more evident the longer he spoke.
This was not some skilful manipulator of the mass media. This was a wounded man.
Randall Mell writing for GolfChannel.com:
Woods was also a different man in the media room, contrite and humble answering 47 questions over 33 minutes. He seemed to be speaking more freely from the heart than he did in his 13-minute scripted apology last month and his five- to six-minute interviews on Golf Channel and ESPN.
Michael Bamberger has the courage to list the questions he would have asked (some are very, very interesting) and says he wasn't sold on Tiger's performance:
Tiger Woods is an expert in the art of answering reporter questions while revealing as little as he possibly can. On Monday, he pretty much picked up where he left off. To talk about his surgically repaired left knee, he said it feels great but he can now tell when fronts are about to come through, courtesy of the knee. That's one of the things he does, gets you to change your focus. You were asking about the knee, but now you're thinking about biological weather forecasting. Ferguson got Woods to own-up to five stitches (I had never before seen a stitch count) likely because he started his next, unrelated question by mentioning that number. Tiger inadvertently gave us a tidbit of news, the very thing he didn't want to do.
Cameron Morfit, also for golf.com, says Tiger beat the press.
In his long, often-chilly relationship with the press, the 14-time major winner has mostly had his way, and while he was cordial — on more than one occasion he addressed reporters by nickname — this day would be no different. Tiger's homecoming, which CBS president Sean McManus predicted would be "the biggest media event other than the Obama inauguration in the past 10 or 15 years," began with a 35-minute Q&A that featured little evasive action but somehow also provided little fresh insight.
Gary Van Sickle, normally not easy to please, fawns:
Woods was masterly, pun intended, as he fielded tough questions that members of the media have been saving up for five months. This was Tiger Slam, Part Two. He was warm, genuine, thoughtful, at ease. He was conversational. This was a small window into the real Tiger Woods.
Joe Posnanski says it was all about the media and lists 12 general categories of Tiger questions asked Monday.
But Tiger isn't the only one on trial here. No, we are on trial too, right? We are on trial because for the first time, the media — both mainstream and the non-mainstream — has taken down a truly dominant athlete and shattered him not because he's a criminal, not because he's someone who played the game unfairly or endangered people's lives or illegally recruited athletes or messed with his or her sport's integrity. No. Instead, Tiger Woods was exposed as a man who lived a wild life and cheated on his wife.
Christine Brennan in the USA Today:
I want to believe him. But can I? Can any of us?
There is an answer to that question, one we don't often like to fall back on in journalism, but one we can't help but use now:
We don't know.
There is no way to know if the Tiger Woods we watched Monday is telling the truth, just as there was no way to determine how much he was lying all those years before. He lied to everyone then. Now he's telling us he lied before but isn't lying now. Let's hope that's true.
Peter Dixon on the scene inside the interview room:
Waiting for Tiger Woods to make his entrance in front of the assembled press at Augusta National yesterday, it was difficult not to stifle a laugh.
In rows seven deep, 200 of us had been squashed into a smallish room for 45 minutes. We had had our names checked off to make sure we were entitled to be there and sat waiting for the Great One’s arrival. Some were reading papers, others doing crosswords and most were wondering out loud if any questions were to be off limits.
It was like waiting in church for the bride to arrive. There was a general hubbub and then silence as word went round that he was on his way. All eyes turned to the back of the room and a welcoming party of three men in green jackets and a television cameraman was in place and ready to greet him.
“Do we sing Here comes the bride?” one hack mumbled, to nobody in particular. Another wondered who was “going to walk him down the aisle”, while a third asked if this was a “wedding or a funeral?” Good question.
Sam Weinman posts this photo of the scribes in line to get in the press conference
Frank Nobilo, Charlie Rymer and Steve Sands join Rich Lerner at Pierce Brothers Augusta to share thoughts on Tiger Woods' press conference Monday afternoon at Augusta.
Sporting a new rug, Joslyn James is reaching out to Elin (oh yeah, she really wants to hear from you!) and was not impressed with Tiger's talk, even threatening to reveal something about drug use not mentioned Monday, reports Nathaniel Vinton. Oh just write her a check already!
And finally, the ancient Twitterer may have summed it all up best: