Tiger's 1-year media blitz greeted skeptically
Tiger Woods said in a radio interview Thursday he's "infinitely" happier than he was immediately preceding his infamous car crash a year ago.
The golf star told the hosts of Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio that the difficult events of the past year have brought clarity to his life.
"It's just amazing how much better I feel internally each and every day, how thankful I am to have the connection I have with my kids and the people who mean the most to me," Woods said in the phone interview.
The interview followed shortly on the heels of a pledge Wednesday to communicate to his fans through a Twitter feed that had been previously ignored, and an op-ed piece credited to him in Newsweek that was entitled "How I've Redefined Victory."
The Twitter feed already has over 200,000 followers.
In both the interview and written piece, Woods talked at length about feeling blessed and grateful for what he has in his life.
The golfer's life began to unravel publicly on Nov. 27, 2009, shortly after he crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant and tree near his Florida mansion.
There were reports of a domestic disturbance with his wife, Elin Nordegren, that was denied by police, and several women soon came forward to allege they had been intimate with Woods.
Woods now says he knew what he was doing was morally wrong, and that he relied heavily on his closest friends in the difficult months that have ensued.
The two officially divorced in August, just shy of five years of marriage. They have two young children.
Nordegren reportedly received a settlement of over $100 million US.
Defends link to doctor
Woods took an extended break from tournament play and endured a trying 2010 season. He finished in the top 5 at the Masters and the U.S. Open, but missed the cut at Quail Hollow and produced his worst-ever four-round showing in August at the Bridgestone.
He went winless on the PGA Tour for the first time since 1996 and earlier this month ceded the top weekly ranking, which he had held for nearly six straight years, to Lee Westwood.
On Thursday, Woods again addressed his dealings with Dr. Anthony Galea, the Toronto-based sports doctor indicted last month in New York.
"Dr. Galea performed platelet-rich plasma injections, something I needed because when I was coming back from knee surgery, I tore my Achilles and that was not a fun time," Woods said. "The PRP injections helped that."
Galea has been accused by authorities of distributing human growth hormone, which Woods has denied using.
"I've met with authorities, co-operated with them fully, and that's all I can say," he said.
Woods and his advisers have been criticized heavily for exerting control over his public statements in the past year — including a scripted, robotic performance at a press conference, as well as a time-limit demand on television interviews he conducted in March with ESPN and Golf Channel.
The reviews weren't much better for the latest media salvo.
Woods was branded a "desperate salesman" by Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post on Thursday, and ESPN golf columnist Jason Sobel said Woods in the past 24 hours has "offered all the emotion of a guy reading cue cards."
"Woods once again furnished stiff answers straight out of … how-to handbook to questions which should elicit more emotional responses," said Sobel.
"If there's anything the public still wants to hear from him, it's passion."
Vanity Fair had fun at his expense, comparing some of his Newsweek pronouncements in quiz form as interchangeable from the pained lyrics of an emo band.
Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News wrote that Woods seems to be chasing both Grand Slam record holder Jack Nicklaus and spirituality guru Deepak Chopra.
"If the guy on the beer commercial is the most interesting person in the world, Tiger has become the opposite of that."