Tiger drops out for now; The Cliffs dilemma

        Tiger Woods announced yesterday that he will take an "indefinite" leave from competitive golf and work to repair his skills as a husband and father.  In characteristic Tiger fashion, he made the announcement at his web site, TigerWoods.com, where the messages since word leaked about his car accident and dalliances have been short and predictable.  Okay, fine; focusing on improving his life beyond golf is the right thing to do now. 

        But in a separate statement made through the Tiger Woods Foundation, Woods announced he also would take a break from his foundation work.  Say it ain't so, Tiger.  Not the foundation.  How many bad moves in the name of "privacy" are you and your handlers going to make? 

        The road to recovery is paved with actions, not words.  The quickest way to becoming a "better person," as Woods characterized the purpose of his time out of the public eye, is to do something positive for others.  Consider Ted Kennedy after Chappaquiddick and Bill Clinton post-Lewinsky.  They repaired their reputations by doing something for others, by going public, as well as private, after their own transgressions. 

        Tiger should do the same.  Yes, the prying media beast will make it tough for him to come and go through the front doors of the foundation, or at fund-raising events.  But the public will give him a pass -- actually applaud him, perhaps -- for manning up in behalf of children.  "No comment, I'm here to do the work of the foundation" will suffice.

        Tiger will emerge from his mansion lair in six months or a year claiming he is a better person and ready to resume his golf career.  If we have seen him grow as a person in the meantime, we just might believe it.



        “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Woods family as they deal with this personal and private family matter. Our relationship with Tiger Woods and our commitment to The Cliffs at High Carolina remains (sic) unchanged."  Thus spoke the Cliffs Communities to the Asheville (NC) Citizen Times on Thursday, before Woods announced he will be dropping out of public life indefinitely.  The Cliffs has to be second-guessing its relationship with the fallen star; every time they make a move with Woods, it comes back to bite them.  They fly him onto the property to make a sales pitch to potential property owners, and he talks about how he looks forward to bringing his wife and children to the mountains.  Within a couple of months he becomes the poster boy for bad husband and father.  Then, just a couple of weeks ago, The Cliffs replaces it Asheville-area billboards of Woods with new ones, featuring larger photos of the golfer.

        To date, The Cliffs has sold just 30 lots at High Carolina.  One has to wonder how much patience Cliffs founder Jim Anthony will have with Tiger as The Cliffs poster boy.  More important, how much patience can Anthony expect from those holding the paper on High Carolina?