Tiger Woods hugged his mother when he finished falling on the bloody sword yesterday.

He should have hugged his speechwriter.

That was good.

Really good.

Unbelievably good.

"One of the most remarkable public apologies ever by a public figure," said ABC's George Stephanopoulos, who, as President Bill Clinton's press secretary, should know something about public apologies.

Tiger's speechwriter hit all the important points and tugged on all the major heartstrings. The public apology was heartfelt and humble. And Tiger's speechwriter made sure Tiger said I'm sorry to all the important parties - his family, his friends, his fans and, most importantly, his sponsors.

And the speechwriter, in a stroke of genius, even had Tiger raise his voice and (make sure you look angry) chastise the mean ol' media for being intrusive. Using the media to rip the media always plays well with Joe and Judy Sixpack in Oshkosh.

"I want to say simply and directly (deep breath and long pause), I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in," Tiger recited from his speechwriter's brilliant prose. "... I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did was not acceptable...

"There are many people at home who believed in me. Today, I want to ask for your help. I ask you to find room in your heart to one day believe in me again."

I believe, Tiger, I believe.

I believe your speechwriter gets an A-plus. Forget your caddie Stevie and your agent Mark Steinberg - fire those guys. You need to start giving your speechwriter 10 per cent of your future earnings. Whoever this speechwriter person is thought of almost everything. The only notable oversight was wife Elin and Tim Tebow not being there.

The speechwriter even dressed you up real nice. The dark sport jacket with no tie and an open collar - translation: This is a serious address, but from a regular guy - was just the right touch.

Actually, Tiger's emotional and contrite public apology was so masterful, he should have been wearing one of his four green jackets.

Tiger has always been clutch under pressure, but this was phenomenal.

This was better than his ramming home the 25-footer on the final hole to win Bay Hill in 2008.

One minor criticism: He didn't tell us sports fans when he would start playing golf again.

But, frankly, Tiger's speechwriter was probably right in not announcing Tiger's return to the links. It would have seemed a bit disingenuous if Tiger had spent 13 minutes apologising to everybody he could think of (except Phil Mickelson) and then added, "And, oh, by the way, I'll be playing the Transitions Championship at Innisbrook. Better get your tickets while you can."

This public apology, after all, wasn't for the American sports fan; it was for the world viewing public. All you had to do was witness the crazy scene at this dog-and-pony show to realise just how much Tiger transcends sports.

There were more than 300 journalists from around the globe who sat in a hotel ballroom a mile away from where Tiger spoke and watched the speech on TV.

After it was over and Tiger announced he had rediscovered his Buddhist faith, one British journalist said to another, "I've never heard of a born-again Buddhist before".

What does it tell you when stock trading on Wall Street slowed during Tiger's speech and picked up again once it was over? Or that all the major networks broke into their regularly scheduled programming to televise this State of the Tiger address?

This was like a speech from the Oval Office. The only thing missing was an American flag, a presidential seal, a reference to "hope and change" and the Marine Corps band playing Hail to the Cheater.

Read my lips: No new mistresses!

After it was over, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchen even referred to Tiger as - are you ready for this? - "an American hero". Geez, Commissioner, and all this time I thought he was just a really good golfer. What, is Tiger suddenly George Washington crossing the Delaware with six porn stars paddling his boat?

"My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of infidelity."

When the circus was finally over and the horde of international media members packed up the cameras and tape recorders to leave, they left behind one lingering question: Will the American public buy Tiger's apology?

The answer is an easy one: Of course we will. We are suckers that way. We are a nation that forgives and forgets when it comes to our sports icons. We are a country that loves when our sports idols rise from the depths of despair to conquer their demons.

Just ask Kobe Bryant, Ray Lewis and Alex Rodriguez.

And this is Tiger Woods who, before his sexual shenanigans became public nearly three months ago, was bigger and more beloved than all of them combined.

And you know what?

He will be bigger and more beloved once again. Tiger's speechwriter told America yesterday that Tiger wants to win back our trust.

Don't worry, he will. Just as soon as he wins his next major.


It's all about me:

The number of times Tiger Woods used certain words in his speech.

* I/me: 141 times
* Elin: Ten times
* Wife: Seven times
* Family: Six times
* Sorry: Three times
* Selfish: Twice
* Irresponsible: Twice
* Wrong: Twice
* Foolish: Twice
* Hurt: Twice
* Apology: Twice
* Blame: Twice
* Integrity: Once
* Failures: Once
* Shame: Once


* Mike Bianchi is a sports columnist for the Orlando Sentinel.