Tiger Woods' Apology Speech: What His Body Language Reveals
I did an interview for US Weekly Magazine about Tiger Wood’s apology. There was an odd coincidence. Tiger gave this apology speech at the Sawgrass Marriot. My parents lived in a beautiful house on the golf course in Sawgrass about a mile from that hotel. I love small world coincidences.
Quoted from US Weekly magazine Friday – February 19, 2010 – 1:05pm
The world has now heard Tiger Woods publicly apologize for his indiscretions-- but what to make of the resurfaced golfer's delivery?
Body language expert and media coach Patti Wood offers exclusive insights to UsMagazine.com.
"I was surprised by how tense he was," the author of Success Signals tells Us of Woods' remarks Friday from the PGA Tour's TPC Sawgrass clubhouse in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. She praises the "beautiful text" of the speech, but criticizes how much the golfer read from his notes.
"He could have prepared more," Wood says. "The fact that he chose to read so much as opposed to committing to memory -- his voice got singsongy. It makes the apology less sincere."
Upon the athlete's entrance on the stage, "His body was upright, shoulders back--but incredibly tense," she observes. "He didn't show any shame or embarrassment. He just showed stark tension in his body and the way he was holding the papers."
Once Woods was behind the podium, "It was deer-in-the-headlights," she says. "Lots of white above the irises of his eyes. He was absolutely terrified. Very far from his normal behavior."
Also revealing? The first time the golfer mentioned his wife and children, "his eyes were absolutely dead, his voice had no emotion and absolutely monotone. He detached himself. It was very, very bizarre," she says. "He was more emotional apologizing to his friends and coworkers" than he was when referencing his family, she observes.
In fact, when the athlete mentioned his friends, "His mouth got dry," she says. "This is the coolest guy in the universe. You never see him sweat on the golf course. You're seeing body tension in his mouth; he's smacking his lips because his mouth was so dry".
As for Woods' discussion of his foundation and his sponsor, "his voice got much stronger, louder, more emphatic and very emotional. It's as if somebody said 'when you get to that spot, really emphasize how important the foundation is.' It seemed out of context."
When the golfer delivered his second apology, his face "looked like a driver's license photo -- he didn't want to be in that moment at all," she observes.
The expert notes that when Woods praised the "grace and pressure" of wife Elin, "that was a true statement. He believed that. His voice was actually melodious; the facial expression and the words were synchronous, they moved smoothly all together at the same time. When you're lying, the pace is different."
Another "true statement," she says, was Woods' comment that he "worked hard my entire life." "He felt very passionately about that. He was defending himself and his behavior."
"He said all the right things," expert Patti Wood says finally. "He said 'I apologize' more than once. It was very well written, but he could have prepared better on the delivery -- he had 80 days. It's a really good example of how the verbal and non-verbal were mismatched."