Tiger's Apology -- Round Two

Tiger Woods has issued a second public apology for what he now describes as "infidelity". It is not clear to us whether the more precise descriptor was required -- everyone on the planet understood from his first apology what he meant by "transgression":

I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children. I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I've done, but I want to do my best to try. I would like to ask everyone, including my fans, the good people at my foundation, business partners, the PGA Tour, and my fellow competitors, for their understanding. What's most important now is that my family has the time, privacy, and safe haven we will need for personal healing. After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person. Again, I ask for privacy for my family and I am especially grateful for all those who have offered compassion and concern during this difficult period.
We have consistently distinguished the high quality of Tiger's "public" apology from the many (many) other private personal and business apologies he will continue to work on over the next several months. We do not believe Tiger accomplished much more in round two by repeating the main elements of his first public apology (issued on December 2), and continue to believe nothing more needs to be said to the general public or to his fans.

However, the most significant additional item in this round is the announcement by Tiger that he will take an indefinite leave of absence from golf to focus on repairing the damage. This will certainly give his major sponsors some breathing room as they continue to deal with the fallout, so in this sense the second apology offers at least some additional restitution. It also provides Tiger with the time he will need to work on saving his family. But Tiger's decision will also have a direct (and negative) effect on the very same networks that have been so relentless in demanding more details about his "infidelity" -- they will almost certainly lose millions in revenue from the lower TV ratings that are directly related to the millions of Tiger's fans, along with many of Tiger's staunchest critics, who will not be tuning in to watch any of the televised PGA tour events in 2010 (or until he returns). Apparently, most golf fans tune in to these stations when Tiger is playing, and even more watch when Tiger has a chance to win.

According to a recent article posted on golf.fanhouse.com, "television ratings for the final round at the Wachovia Championship this year down 53 percent, and ratings for the final round at the AT&T National down 48 percent." Advertising revenues are directly tied to these ratings, so if we multiply those lost revenues by every PGA tour event in 2010 the true measure of Tiger's impact on golf becomes very clear. Conversely, calculate the billions of dollars Tiger has already made for these same networks and you begin to understand why he doesn't owe them anything more than the public apology he has already issued. He deserves (and is owed) some space.