In what may be the most honest (and touching) quotes since the Tiger Woods cheating fiasco went down, Mark O'Meara addressed the issue on Wednesday in what could only be described as a man trying his best to respect a friend.
O'Meara, who has been good friends with Tiger since he turned pro in 1996, admitted he hasn't spoken with Woods since the British Open last year, but said he knows this is just "Tiger being Tiger" and would have handled the entire issue differently if it had been O'Meara in the cheating mess.
"I would have handled it differently myself, personally, but that’s who I am. Whether he’s handled it right or wrong, only time can decide that.
Tiger is being Tiger. You guys have spent a lot of time with him and seen how he is. I don’t know how else to answer that.
A lot of times, why I don’t say anything is, it wouldn’t do me any good to make a comment. I certainly don’t want to offend my friend, but if he asked me my personal opinion about something, I’m going to give it to him. That would obviously be between he and I, but I would have handled it differently. But he’s a different guy than Mark O’Meara.”
Something you must understand about this is how far Tiger has gone at pushing people out of his life if O'Meara, a man that used to live seven doors down from Woods and would play practically every practice round together, isn't even on the other end of the phone when Woods needs someone. I wouldn't say that they were "best friends," but I would go as far as saying Mark would have been on his speed dial.
If anything, I think the news from O'Meara shows that we are further from a Tiger return than we initially thought. People are rambling about the Tavistock Cup or the Accenture Match-Play, but Woods isn't even reaching out to his close group of friends yet. If that doesn't give you some indication of where he is mentally about all this, I'm not sure what would.
O'Meara concluded his press conference by offering this up.
“I know he wants it to be private, but it’s difficult to be private when he’s a public figure. That’s part of what’s happened in our lives. Media is such a big influence. That helps make Tiger a lot of what he is.
“I realize what happened is not a good scenario. That’s disappointing, what’s happened, and as his friend, I would tell him that personally. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that I wouldn’t try to help my friend any way I could."
I guess you could say that his marriage isn't the only relationship Tiger could use mending. O'Meara has been through divorce, and dealt with the repercussions that exist in such a situation. For Woods not to pick up his cell phone and ring O'Meara just adds to the awkwardness that has become this entire ordeal.