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According to Karyn Rybacki and Donald Rybacki, "An Apologia or a speech of self defense is required in any rhetorical situation that questions the reputation, moral qualities, behaviors, motives, or character of an individual or an organization". Tiger Wood's reputation was damaged due to the recent reports of his domestic violence, adultery and his unsportsmanlike behavior. On February 19th 2010, he presented a 14 minute Apologia through a televised news conference defending his actions because his public and private life was being threatened. B. L. Ware and Wil A. Linkugel in their October 1973 Quarterly Journal of Speech article, "They Spoke in Defense of Themselves: On the Generic Criticism of Apologia" have given a really good perspective on Apologia. They identified four different techniques available to a person delivering an Apologia, namely denial, bolstering, differentiation, and transcendence. Using these four factors of verbal self defense, we can evaluate the rhetorical techniques that Tiger Wood applied in his Apologia.
According to Ware and Linkugel (1973), bolstering is a rhetorical technique, in which the rhetor tries his best to "identify himself with something viewed favorably by the audience". Tiger Woods came to the podium and wanted to convey his remorse for what has transpired in his life. He was speaking of a situation that many people may have gone though in their own lives and therefore the problem was a rather common one. The solution to such a problem is not easy by any means. Whenever the speaker relates to things and takes responsibility for his actions and readily accepts his own guilt, it evokes a feeling of empathy and forgiveness amongst the general audience rather than harping on hatred or making incendiary or vitriol statements. In the past, he was always accused of being very robotic when it came to his dealings with the media and fans. He is also thought to be somewhat of an elite person who is not very affable. During his speech, he came right out and showed remorseful feeling and emotion when he said the rules that apply to all married men apply to him as well and that he failed to realize that during his halcyon days. This made him look more human. He also made a statement that he is not interested in dwelling upon the details that the media wants him to talk about but instead chooses to keep them private between him and his wife. This makes him less of a celebrity and more of a common man which identifies well with the audience. He expressed regret in how he let down youngsters and parents who wish to model themselves after him. He seemed to be emotional during the speech and that certainly gave the impression to the audience that he is seeking forgiveness from everyone. When a person feels like he has reached the nadir of existence and is looking for an olive branch of hope, this reaches deep down into one's core emotional being. Tiger has stated that he is undergoing rehabilitation and seeking to continue to find solutions for his issues and this gives people the belief that everyone deserves a second chance in life. He also stated quite clearly that he takes the blame on himself for all his actions and his wife Elin is clear of any blame through these tumultuous period. These factors show him as a person willing to accept and take ownership of his deeds. He showed keenness to get back to a normal life and wants to be a good husband and father rather than focus on his current golfing profession which reiterates his commitment and desire to make things right.
Ware and Linkugel say that using differentiation the rhetor tries to separate "some fact, sentiment, object or relationship from some larger context in which the audience presently views that attribute". Tiger Woods knows fully well the repercussions of such a speech of his own admission of guilt. Yet he chose a very public forum to convey his thoughts and emotions this shows the audience a more direct approach. He is a celebrated athlete and a very accomplished one. He has a beautiful wife and lovely kids and gives back to the community via various charitable activities. It is very easy for people to think that his life is well laid out and that any transgression that happens has no place for pardon. But he tried to explain the fact that his fame and ability to excel in golf sort of made him believe that he is omnipotent and that he could do anything and get away with it. He gave everyone a perspective of how someone with his fame and fortune could actually throw away everything but not necessarily feel any remorse for his actions. He condemned his own behavior for doing all those actions but also tried to get the audience to visualize how something like that could happen to others.
In the final technique of self-defense, transcendence, the rhetor tries to join "some fact, sentiment, object or relationship with some larger context within which the audience does not presently view that attribute". Tiger Woods delivered the apologia with a perfect voice resonating to the audience his resentment towards his actions. He was dressed up in a dark jacket and a light blue shirt with no tie which shows that he is mourning his wrongdoings. He starts his speech thanking the audience for coming over to listen to his speech. This shows that he is trying to make his audience a little more comfortable and bringing them one step closer to him. At one point he had his hand over his heart depicting to us that he is speaking from his heart and is here to tell the audience the whole truth and nothing but the whole truth. He uses a good choice of words to make his audience believe in him and make his mistakes look better, especially using the word "affairs" instead of "adultery". In his speech, he portrays himself as being a family guy and who wants to protect his family from the evil public eye. He uses this to his advantage to sway the audience's mind from the fact that he has committed adultery and that he actually is a good husband and father.
In summary, "According to Aristotle, a speaker or writer communicates a credible ethos when intelligence, upright character, and goodwill are projected to the audience." (Kallendorf and Kallendorf). Tiger Woods tried to boost his ethos by admitting to wrong doing, showing his concern for his family, reaffirming his commitment to golf, and also by thanking the players and PGA tour executives.