As soon as the news that the Tiger Woods/Elin Nordegren marriage was over, the jokes began flying about exactly what Tiger would be doing with all his newfound free time.
Turns out he's not throwing a party, at least not publicly. Speaking at the Barclays, where he's scheduled to tee off in the first round of the PGA Tour Playoffs on Thursday, Woods described what he's going through as a "sad time" in his life.
With Elin Nordegren's side of the story dominating headlines and airwaves, the topic of the press conference hung in the air as the media danced around like a nervous freshman about to ask a senior cheerleader out on a date.
(Samples: "How did you play?" Tiger: "I played better." "Drive well today?" "I did." "How many drivers will you hit out there?" "It depends.")
And much like that hypothetical nervous freshman, once some media member screwed up the courage to ask the big question, he (or she) went too far:
Q. "Tiger, in today's People Magazine Elin describes the end of your marriage like a death where she feels grief, she hopes to forgive one day. I'm wondering, do you still love her?"
What? What kind of a question is that? "Do you still love her?" Look, I'm all for a little bit of Tiger Woods off-course news -- certainly, we've run our share here -- but asking if he still loves her seems, well ... a bit creepy. Woods replied:
"I wish her the best in everything. You know, it's a sad time in our lives. And we're looking forward to -- in our lives and how we can help our kids the best way we possibly can. And that's the most important thing."
Yes. Yes, it is. Good to see that he -- oh, wait, there was a followup?
Q. "Do you still love her?"
Jeez. OK, Tiger, your turn:
"That's the most important thing."
For once, I agree with Robo-Tiger's dismissal. That's just not even a question that warrants a response. Other media members pursued lines of questioning that were of a little higher caliber than notes passed from desk to desk in middle school. When asked the degree to which his off-course troubles have affected his marriage, he replied:
"Being asked questions all the time, even after -- even as the tournaments are going I've been asked questions while we're playing," he said. "And that's always difficult.
And especially when I'm trying to work on a few things, trying to find shots in order to get around the golf course, and to have to talk about other things [is difficult]." He conceded that concentration has been tricky with all around him.
Still, the news of the divorce is an occasion for sadness, not relief, because "you don't ever go into a marriage looking to get divorced." Obvious, but still true.
"My actions certainly led us to this decision," Woods later said. "And I've certainly made a lot of errors in my life, and that's something I'm going to have to live with."
Day 1 of Tiger's post-marriage professional life begins Thursday at the Barclays.