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Irony Files: Tiger Advises Rory To Say Little, Then He Says A Lot!

While reading Iain Carter's excellent analysis of the corner Rory McIlroy has painted himself into with his WD and ensuing spin--"he still he has explaining to do"--I was more fascinated by a quote from Tiger mocking the people who cover him.

You may recall that Tiger's advice to Rory via the press was essentially along the lines of be careful and don't say too much. And that was what most reported. A few used it as a chance to mention that Tiger is cryptic with his answers, some defending, some calling him less than honest.

And then Tiger went a little further last Friday, but I didn't see the comments until Carter quoted him.

I'm not sure what is funnier, the delicious irony of Tiger saying something so raw and blunt about those who cover him when he was talking about being careful what you say, or the lack of stories from the golf media mentioning that he thinks they don't understand the game!

Either way, now we know what Tiger really thinks of the people asking him questions.

From Friday at the Honda Classic:

Q.  When you're going through swing changes in 2008 and 2004 and there was a lot of criticism, you didn't really say anything too much about it, you just got to the end result instead.  Is that hard not to fight back on the choice to change clubs?

TIGER WOODS:  Well, that's just because people don't understand.  Most of the people that are commentating or analyzing don't understand the game of golf, so I didn't have a problem with it.

Q.  Is there a temptation at all to want to ‑‑

TIGER WOODS:  Well, they don't see it.  They don't see the range sessions and they don't see the practice at home.  Plus, they generally don't understand the game, especially at this level.

If this is his idea thinking before saying something, I can only imagine what he really thinks!

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Reader Comments (38)

I don't see the problem with these comments and they fit perfectly with his advice to Rory. What he was telling Rory was to protect the bottom line. He wasn't telling Rory to think before he spoke because of honesty or integrity. It was because they all have sponsors and you have to protect your image so your sponsors are happy with you and continue to support your extravagant lifestyle.

Tiger has every right to say what he said and there is no downside to his comments. He doesn't owe the media anything. In fact, not a week goes by that someone like Brian Murphy or Jay Busbee or some other knucklehead uses the "Cadillac into a tree" euphemism. It's annoying and it's getting old. That was over 3 years ago. It's cheap journalism. Only a few journalists (Lusetich) have given Tiger decent treatment over his personal failings and Tiger knows it. Why would he pander to these people? They owe him for their livelihood. Not the other way around.

Disclaimer: I am not a Tiger-maniac. I love his game and the prosperity he's brought the sport but don't think an awful lot of him as a person. Luckily, I can separate Tiger the golfer and Tiger the person.
03.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris from DE
For the most part he's right.
03.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy
What's to understand? Hit the little white ball into the hole in as few strokes as possible. Maybe the problem isn't that the people he's referring to don't understand the game, but that he's over thinking it.
03.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
Chris from DE, you are the first rational person I've come across in a blog comments section. Thank you.
03.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPickett
Pickett - that might be the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me.

It's hard to accuse a guy who's won 75 TOUR events and 14 majors of "over thinking it." I believe it's difficult to understand the professional game unless you've ever played it. It's about managing your mind, minimizing your risks and maximizing opportunity.

I know a few guys who can shoot 65 any time they want when there is $50 on the line. They've tried the pro game and failed spectacularly. It's a different game out there. Tiger is always trying to give himself the best competitive advantage and that means retooling his approach to the game aka minimizing risks when it's all on the line.
03.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris from DE
Saying the journalists "owe" Tiger for their livelihood is playing into Tiger-think. In David Owen's book The Chosen One, years ago, he wrote that Tiger resented journalists as he felt they were making their living off his work. This was, and is, rubbish. Journalists existed before Tiger Woods and have a job to do, for which they are paid by their employers. (The fact that there are cutbacks in golf journalism these days has to do with the changing nature of the newspaper and other press and media industries, not Woods). He is merely a current subject -- and has been a good one for reporters; virtually no use to interviewers. But when he goes, there will be other golf journalists and other golfers.

And Woods is hardly in a position to be talking to anyone about protecting sponsors, unless he cares to point a finger at himself and say "You see what happens if you SCREW UP LIKE I DID."

Rory would be welll shot of this toxic, cynical and far from inspirational individual anywhere except a practice range. We all know Tiger is generous about sharing tips.
03.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterV.Lind

Love the picture, just about the biggest block you will ever see !!!!! Look at how far his right hip is back, and the whole right side is under.......gee, wonder why he is hot and cold......
Yeah, stupid us. Keep understanding that game, Tiger, on your third coach and still unable to swing a club without a babysitter looking over your shoulder.

14 majors and still can't figure it out...

Way to keep it manly, dude.
03.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterH401
Tiger is 100% correct. The scribes don't see what the players do away from the course. These guys don't change gear overnight, the lie, length and loft specs would be a perfect match, the shafts are likely identical. Launch conditions would have been analyse and tweaked through hours of Trackman work. So give the players some credit. In fact why don' t we challenge the journos to put in the same level of time and effort before they put pen to paper or spew forth from an orifice. Ill informed opinion is for tabloids and blogging. Oh and personally as a Titleist user I'd rather Rory have stayed with Titleist, but you can't blame him or the kit. Put some $$ on him to win he Masters.
03.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSimon
I think Tiger has little use or patience for the constant critique of his swing, and he's basically right about the constant swing analysis (one minute it's great, the next it's terrible and he needs to go back to Butch - and that was just Brandel Chamblee in a 24hr period). And Tiger is not a big fan of the press in general (that being said he's actually been pretty good with the press lately).

That being said every reporter complains that Tiger doesn't give exclusive interviews, than Rory gives an exclusive, and he's getting hammered bc it'll piss off all the other reporters. At some point it becomes a no win proposition in dealing with the media.
03.5.2013 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Tiger is coming off as the Shithead version of a Phil-Mickelson-Know-It-All.

Excluding David Faherty, Notah Begay, Charlie Rymer, and Kelly Tilgman, he thinks the press corps & media folks are basically dumbasses.
03.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAbu Dhabi Golfer

Do you ever have anything positive to say about anyone or anything?
03.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSilver Lining
Yeah, just look at all the problems Arnie and Jack had with the press.

No, wait. They didn't, did they?
03.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHod
@Silver Lining

I think Tiger's work with and recognition of the military is excellent and he deserves full credit for this.
03.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAbu Dhabi Golfer
Tiger's spot on about the press!
03.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStord
Hod.....I think you can probably agree the media is a little different in this era.
03.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrad
It is exactly opposite that golf writers owe Tiger their living. They were here before him and will be here after him. Without the audience modern media delivers, Tiger would be making a vastly reduced living.

That's not to say he's always been given a fair shake or that writers truly understand what's going on inside the tour player's head -- an impossibility, considering that most of them don't know that either -- but if he thinks he'd be a billionaire without the engine these questioners represent, he's a lot stupider than I would have thought.
03.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterG
Hey Steve,
He actually hit that drive in the left rough (Hole 4, round 1). Don't quit your day...oh, sorry.
03.5.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchant
My point was that Tiger doesn't owe anything to the golf writers. Maybe they've made him more money by publicizing his successes (although they were much more thorough with his failures) but he would have been the same golfer without them. Conversely, Tiger has given the golf writers much more to write about and a much larger audience to write to. This means they have been able to churn out more product to more people which has increased their economic viability.

The audience of people who were reading about Faldo, Norman, Couples and Love was a lot smaller than the audience who reads about Tiger, so it's fair to say that golf writers have been one of the great beneficiaries of Tiger's presence in golf.

During each of his previous swing changes, we heard to chorus of "he's crazy...he'll never be the same" from the golf writers. Then, when Tiger's personal life got messy, golf writers devolved into tabloid journalists and hit him hard while he was down just to sell a little more copy. For them to expect any respect from Tiger is laughable.
03.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris from DE
Chris from DE - you're spot on about the wealth that Tiger had bring to the press (and to the tour and his fellow players). It's true that the press was always there, but they have secured their job from writing about him. The analogy would be what Arnold did to the game, making the sport that was already in existence much more appealing to a broader audience. Ask any writer, and their hiring newspaper, if they were to publish one article, would they publish an article about Norman/Faldo or publish an article about Tiger on a particular issue and let's see which one they pick. They put him on the mantle which sold them a lot of papers, and now they want to bury him in the sewer, which gets them a lot of readers. Rory will realize this soon enough.

As for Tiger openness or guarded response to the press, look back at his response to the questions re: technique/swing/hole design (very insightful) vs those about his personal life (cold and non-responsive if not rude) and I say he's been fair to the press. I tell you one thing, I hear golfers use his phrases so often after his having said it e.g. "trajectory" "it is what it is" "stupid long" etc. so tell me that he isn't a trend setter or doesn't influence his peers.
03.5.2013 | Unregistered Commenternguyenvuminh
There is zero doubt that the number of writers making a living in golf today is considerably higher than it would be had Tiger never come along.
03.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Tiger is right. I have spent some time with some very high level golfers and I think they do understand the game in the manner that the rest us do not.

Remember the famous Weiskopf quote about Jack,
Hey must think a block only goes sad......
Premature submit-ulation on post above.

Verne Lundquist asked Weiskopf what Jack was thinking during '86 Masters charge. Tom said: "if I knew the way he thought, I would have won this tournament 4 times.."
I can't dispute your post, blocks do go left, for Phil and Bubba.
03.5.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchant
What Tiger doesn't get about the press is that not only are they (as a body) to some degree the beneficiary of his impact on the game, they also to a large degree are the catalysts of his fame and fortune. Sure he might have won all these golf tournaments, but why would any major sponsor care about that if he didn't get extensive media coverage. Tiger views them as parasites to his glory, but in fact there is a symbiotic relationship going on. The smarter guys like Phil get that, and at least play nice most of the time.
03.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
chant I wish you had asked steve where that drive ended up before saying the result. steve what would your answer have been?
03.5.2013 | Unregistered Commenterhighstepper
Science dictates that chant is correct but Steve probably also thinks that a draw is hit with a closed club face...
03.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeeWatson
If Steve thinks that the club face is closed to the intended line of the swing, then of course he's correct.

"Open" only to the target only because you're already set up aiming right of the target to hit a draw to begin with. Now, set up right for your draw, are you saying now that one should open their face to hit the draw?

"Closed Face" is certainly what one would mean to indicate in relation to the line on which you're swinging... but don't think too hard about that :-)
03.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterH401
Steve I think you've been fooled by the wind buffeting his rain pants. If not, then not only is he not getting through with his right hip, but he's hiding a baby elephant in his left pant leg.
03.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJaspar
H401. Yes. Read the new ball flight laws.
03.5.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMetro18
I'm no fan of Tiger, but he has a point about writers not understanding the game at a professional level. For years, every time he didn't win he was apparently in a slump. If he didn't win for a month or two, his career was over. Swing changes were expected to yeild overnight results.

Half the writers don't even know how to write, and their editors have no idea how to edit. is probably the worst (I don't count Golf Observer or other blogs, obviously), but so many stories are so filled with clumsy writing it's hard to understand what happened during the tournament, or which side of an issue the writer is trying to push. If these guys can't do their own jobs, how can they understand how someone else's works?

I know there have been huge cutbacks on sports journalism, but couldn't they have cut the hacks and kept the good writers?
You post in here a lot. Always thought a "push" went right?
Now confused, can you elaborate?
03.5.2013 | Unregistered Commenter20/20 rearview
@Metro 18: Even according to the "new" ball flight laws, a draw or a hook can only be achieved if the clubface is closed in relation to the clubhead path at impact. The clubface might be open in relation to the ball-target line, yes, but an open clubface in relation to the swing path will always result an a fade or a slice. I interpreted H401's "the line on which you're swinging" to mean clubhead path and not ball-target line, so I think he's correct.

@Steve: My definition of a block has always been "an in-to-out clubhead path with the clubface pointing in the same direction as the clubhead path", a shot that always goes right (assuming you're swinging right-handed). Am I being mistaken?
03.6.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
I think we need to distinguish between the "press" and the "media". The press, otherwise known as the golf writers, write stories about Tiger which are published in papers, magazines and websites. The media, otherwise known as CBS, NBC, GC, etc. televise professional golf (in one form or another) for the public to view.

The media who televise golf are the engine behind Tiger's sponsorships. The press has nothing to do with it. However, to say that he even owes the media anything is a stretch. Since Tiger joined the PGA Tour in 1996, everyone has profited. The television networks pay the PGA Tour more money to televise golf tournaments because more people are watching and therefore corporations are willing to spend significantly more money to advertise their products to the larger audiences. Go down the line. Everyone makes more money because of Tiger.

See my disclaimer in my initial post. I promise I'm not Notah Begay.
03.6.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris from DE
Tiger is 100% right. Writers don't understand the game on the level of those who play it at a high level do. It's great to see writers getting their panties in a twist over it, though.
03.6.2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Blade
If I get this right ...

Tiger tells Rory to "say little", Rory says "lots more" (I watched his presser today)

I'd say Rors did the right thing.
03.6.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGolfFan

It is easy to get along with the Press if you are as phoney as Phil is.
03.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStanley Thompson

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