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Why Tiger Woods Need Not Apologize to Us

Why Tiger Woods Need Not Apologize to UsWhen Tiger Woods held a press conference last Friday to explain where he’s at in his life, I got this feeling that we were looking into someone’s personal and private life in a manner that felt a little silly. After all, what business is it of ours — the public — what this sports celebrity does in his personal life?

Then again, one could apply the same logic to virtually any celebrity and our seemingly-endless obsession with following the private lives and failings of celebrities. Entire print publications and weekly magazines are devoted to the following of celebrities’ lives, as well as popular websites like

We love to follow other people’s lives — it takes our minds off of our own mundane (and often less-than-ideal) existence. It explains why these publications are so popular and well-read.

But why put yourself out there, voluntarily, while you’re still in the middle of your own recovery? Why hold a “press conference” where nobody is allowed to answer any questions? And where is the one person who should be there — your wife? What does it help or prove?

Now some ridiculous journalists — like Donald McNeil Jr. — are claiming that Tiger Woods is suffering from sex addiction, based upon nothing more than so-called “experts” who have never seen Tiger Woods in a clinical setting or had the chance to interview him personally. This “diagnosis from afar” is a ridiculous game some professionals (and even laypeople) play, in an effort to juice the headlines even further. Oh, and of course, the fact that “sex addiction” isn’t even a recognized or diagnosable disorder is, I guess, besides the point.

Perhaps Tiger Woods is going through his own version of a 12-step program. Perhaps he just feels badly about the publicity of it all. Or perhaps he was cajoled into appearing by trusted advisers, friends or lawyers.

But I would say he got some bad advice. This is none of our business and he does not need to be in the public spotlight at this time. He does not need to give public attrition for his personal acts, nor give us an apology. There is only one set of people Tiger Woods needs to apologize to, and there is only set of people who need to be there to hear it — his family. Here’s to hoping he continues his recovery in earnestness and humility, and for a new-found appreciation for the value of his family.

We all are human and we all make mistakes. None of us is perfect. We try our best, admit our mistakes (to our loved ones) and then pick ourselves up, and try and move on. We — you know, us normal people — don’t hold press conferences. We don’t twitter about it. We don’t post a Facebook status update that we screwed up royally and apologize for our actions. We don’t need to because nobody matters to us personally except those we care most about in our lives. Those people we personally harmed by our actions. No matter what else Tiger Woods may or may not have done (or what you think about it), his actions did not harm you or me.

We tell our loved ones or those we caused harm to, and then we quietly work on rebuilding trust and putting our lives back together. So while some may appreciate Tiger Woods’ apology, it was unnecessary and came across as merely self-serving. He need not apologize to us because he did nothing to you or I. The harm he caused was only to himself and his family, no one else.

Why Tiger Woods Need Not Apologize to Us

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder of Psych Central. He is a psychologist, author, researcher, and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 1995. Dr. Grohol has a Master's degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member of the Society for Participatory Medicine. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

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APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2018). Why Tiger Woods Need Not Apologize to Us. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 2, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 24 Feb 2010)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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