Walking into a Tiger Woods press conference feels like being an Eloi entering the Morlocks’ underworld in HG Wells’ The Time Machine.The call comes out that Tiger is in the interview room and reporters leave the comfort of their laptops and wander together as if in a catatonic state.
We know by now that Tiger will say a lot without saying a lot. We know that we’ll have the life sucked out of us. But we are compelled to go, anyway. Because he’s Tiger and people want to know what he says and what he thinks and how he’s feeling. And we have to write about it.
It’s fascinating to watch him work his audience (keep everyone at arms’ length). Tiger hates the media. It probably motivates him. It’s as if he’s playing a game to see how long he can speak for without revealing more than morsels.
Woods is a filibustering politician. It has been this way for 15 years. On Tuesday at Augusta National it was standing room only as usual for Tiger. After recent feisty press conferences with Tiger since extracts from Hank Haney’s book on him began circulating, this was the most benevolent audience with Tiger in living memory.
The aura that used to fill the room pre-hydrant in 2009 has disappeared. Now he only has words to fill the void. Tiger was polite but as usual defensive and evasive. It’s as if he believes that if he reveals the tiniest detail of his inner thoughts it will be a sign of weakness. But at least he gave no one his famous death stare.
The highlight was an anecdote about playing a skins game as an amateur at the 1995 Masters along with Arnie and Jack. But the story petered out and there was no amusing or insightful punch line. It was ever thus with Tiger. He must be a dreadful dinner guest. Mind you, who the heck would invite him?