Bauer discusses Woods' apology, confessions in general

  • Susan Wise BauerEnglish professor discusses the Woods' apology.

    Susan Wise Bauer

Tiger Woods hit the three major points that compose a successful public confession, according to William and Mary English professor Susan Wise Bauer.

Bauer, author of "The Art of the Public Grovel," listed those points as (1) the need to convey the lack of a sense of entitlement, (2) the need to admit fault without excuse and (3) the need to acknowledge the audience's need to forgive. Although Woods appeared rather awkward, said Bauer, he successfully executed his confession. “He began by saying I have basically sinned against all of you," she said. "He said I was selfish and irresponsible, and I was wrong. … And then he walked forward to the front row and hugged his mother … . It was a very symbollic I need you to forgive me."

Whether or not the confession was sincere is not the point, Bauer said. "Besides, there is no way of knowing," she said. From the perspective of a fan, it is enough to be convinced that Woods recognized his actions were an inappropriate use of power. "One I know that, I can go back to cheering for him," she said.