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Media commentators render quick verdicts on Tiger Woods' apology

February 19, 2010 |  9:34 am

Reaction to Tiger Woods’ nearly 15-minute apology for cheating on his wife came fast and furious Friday morning. After what ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos called “one of the most remarkable public apologies ever by a public figure,” PR experts and golf veterans offered conflicting takes on whether Woods did enough to repair the damage to his once-unimpeachable image.

“This was a public relations disaster,” media crisis expert Rick Cerrone said on CNN, noting that the golfer’s simmering anger at the media was all-too apparent. “This will be shown in colleges in future of how not to conduct a press conference.”

“He did exactly what he was supposed to do,” marketing expert Peter Shankman told Fox News anchor Jamie Colby. “It was scripted perfectly. He shut it down. He will disappear for a couple of months. He’ll go back to a game. Life will go on. The advertisers will be happy.”

“I think he was sincere,” NBC Sports interviewer Jimmy Roberts told Matt Lauer, who anchored the network’s coverage from Vancouver, Canada. “I do think there are questions that people still have.”

“Tiger's apology included some of the worst acting since Ishtar,” MSNBC host Joe Scarborough tweeted.

But CBS sports analyst David Feherty said that in the 13 years he had covered Woods, he had never seen him so vulnerable as he appeared Friday. “This is a private citizen. He’s not a John Edwards. He didn’t have to do this.”

Some questioned the amount of attention put on the golfer’s statement, which aired live on all the broadcast networks and an array of cable channels. Mark Knoller, White House correspondent for CBS News, tweeted: “Cant believe the major networks are providing live coverage of Tiger Woods' statement.”

It is rare for the broadcast networks to break into regularly scheduled programming with special news reports, an occasion largely reserved for major disasters or big speeches by the president, such as the State of the Union. “I like @chucktodd's idea that there should be a rebuttal to Tiger's statement,” ABC Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper tweeted. “Ladies? ;)”

-- Matea Gold