Twitter: GeoffShac
  • The 1997 Masters: My Story
    The 1997 Masters: My Story
    by Tiger Woods
  • The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    by John Feinstein
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Sports Media Group
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Sleeping Bear Press
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford

Whenever there is a carry offered, two things are essential. First there must be a way around for those who are unwilling to accept the risk, and there must be a definite reward awaiting the man who takes the chance successfully. Without the alternative route, the situation is unfair; without reward, it is meaningless.
BOBBY JONES

  

Friday
Feb192010

Tiger Statement Reading, Comment Thread

Post your thoughts on the statement reading below.

From YouTube's coverage, right before the statement reading...they look like they're viewing an execution!

 

Friday
Feb192010

"He's still trying to control everything while he explains to everyone why he has no self-control."

A few more interesting takes on Tiger and his upcoming statement reading today...

TJ Simers in the LATimes:

The fascinating thing about the Tiger Woods' love fest today, a gathering of those friendly, and agreeable to Woods' liking, is that he's still trying to control everything while he explains to everyone why he has no self-control.

I don't believe Woods owes anyone an explanation other than his wife, but now that he's going public, just imagine how many image makers, crisis managers and PR specialists have been consulted to craft the perfect mea culpa.

Christine Brennan in the USA Today:

No self-respecting news organization should ever show up for something like this, staged as it is to make it appear as though Tiger is facing the news media, when he's doing nothing of the sort. This should be viewed as an infomercial and watched and reported on from afar.

But "reporters," and I use the term loosely, from three wire services — Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg — will arrive, to instantly become props in Tiger's ingenious play to win over your hearts again, America.

And playing the adoring supporting role, we have none other than PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, who should have told Tiger and Steinberg to take their "press gathering" anywhere but PGA Tour headquarters.

Or, at the very least, Finchem should have told Tiger the clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass was available only on Mondays. What was the commissioner thinking, sanctioning Tiger's little TV show while a big-time PGA Tour event, the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, is going on at the same time in Arizona?

Mike Bianchi in the Orlando Sentinel:

Many of my journalistic brothers and sisters are foaming at the laptop because Tiger is not having a full-fledged press conference today and won't be taking any questions from the media. I'm not. I'd handle it just like Tiger is handling it.

He'll have a press conference in good time. He'll have to. But his return into the public domain should not come with reporters from TMZ and National Enquirer shouting questions at him about whether he impregnated a porn star.

Just because a voyeuristic American public may want to know the name of every porn queen and Perkins waitress and crave every dirty detail of Tiger's private life, it doesn't mean we have a right to know. Let's face it, this is a no-win situation. It doesn't matter how Tiger handles it — with a press conference or with an emotional public apology — he is going to get barbecued either way.

Art Spander for RealClearSports.com:

Someone called the setting where Tiger was to make his brief speech reminiscent of a Greek chorus, with friends and colleagues in the room lending support that is virtual if not vocal. It was place of safety, of security.

On a golf course, the situation will be different. He will be badgered by the media, perhaps even heckled by fans.

Tiger wasn't at the Accenture, but he was all over it. It became his event when the news got out that he would be speaking 2,000 miles away.

Maybe it was accidental, that the announcement would be opposite the Accenture. Maybe it was intentional. Either way, as Ernie Els contended, it was selfish.

Friday
Feb192010

"The backdrop will be blue pipe and drape."

A source in television shares this information about Tiger's statement reading, which comes from CBS, managers of the pool feed.

The start time is officially 11:01:30

Tiger will be cued to walk out at :01:30 it is approximately 10 seconds to an unadorned lectern. The backdrop will be blue pipe and drape.

Thursday
Feb182010

Tiger Statement Reading Slipped In To Coincide With Rehab Schedule, Photo Opp Shoots

It seems Tim Finchem was much better informed Thursday than he was Wednesday about Tiger's reasons for hosting a TPC Sawgrass reading. Which is odd, considering Sean Martin's report that "the announcement has been in the works for some time" and the TPC Sawgrass room was "reserved late last week."

Anyway, the well-compensated Commish went from not knowing anything and not making assumptions to sending out a letter to PGA Tour players. Doug Ferguson writes about the Finchem letter to players, and quotes the Commish:

“As we understand it, Tiger’s therapy called for a week’s break at this time during which he has spent a few days with his children and then will make his statement before returning,” Finchem said in a letter Thursday. “Accordingly, there was very little flexibility in the date for the announcement.”

The letter also included this funny bit:

The PGA Tour made available its sprawling, Mediterranean-styled clubhouse for the announcement, and is helping set up adjacent ballrooms at the nearby Sawgrass Marriott for media, where they can watch Woods on closed-circuit TV.

Finchem said in the letter that Woods’ management asked for the facilities, and “we agreed as we would for any member of the PGA Tour.”

John Daly, Jim Thorpe, did you see that?

Meanwhile ESPN.com posts this interview with Finchem where he says people are looking for "a genuine interface" from Tiger's statement-reading and that his fellow players are now more forgiving of the lousy timing after it is explained to them that this is part of his rehab schedule. The video:

Hopefully SI's Anonymous PGA Tour Pro got the Finchem letter, because based on what he had initially heard, he texted this to Gary Van Sickle:  "Tiger is a selfish prick. Nothing's changed."

A bit more info came out suggesting that Accenture signed off on this, but did they really have a choice in the matter? Rex Hoggard reports:

Steinberg also called Accenture – which dropped its endorsement deal with Woods on Dec. 13 – shortly before Wednesday’s announcement to inform officials they had intentionally scheduled the news conference outside the television window for third-round play.

“(Steinberg) spoke with CMO Roxanne Taylor,” said Fred Hawrysh, director of corporate communication for Accenture. “It wasn’t a long conversation and he just called to give us a heads up and let us know the timing was set not to overlap with the event.”

That's a no, they didn't have a choice in the matter.

Doug Ferguson reports on preparations for the "event," with the big three networks carrying the statement live along with ESPN, PGATOUR.com, YouTube (here) and Golf Channel. He also notes:

A British bookmaker has set odds at 4-to-7 that Woods' wife, Elin, will be with him. William Hill didn't stop there, however. It offers 8-to-1 odds that Woods will announce he is getting a divorce, 12-to-1 odds that his wife is pregnant and 100-to-1 odds that he is retiring.

Garry Smits reports that tension was in the air Thursday at TPC Sawgrass. And it was only Thursday!

Win McMurry explains how security has changed from the normal setup.

That is not the case this week. While bar-coded stickers still grant access through the initial gate to those who have them, there is now security in what seems like every 100 yards to protect every entrance to the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse and Tour offices, a Tour employee said. Now once through the initial security gate, in order to turn into the drive toward the clubhouse and offices, you now must show your official credential and employees must wear their credentials to report to work. If you’re a guest on the property, you also must show identification and you must be on a list. The guard gate has a list of those with already booked tee times since there will still be play at TPC Sawgrass’ Players Stadium and Dye’s Valley courses.

Richard Sandomir poses the essential question about this statement reading:

In speaking to an assembled group of friends, colleagues and associates, Woods will apologize to those “whom Tiger feels he owes a direct and personal apology,” Glenn Greenspan, his spokesman, said Thursday.

But if they all deserved an apology, shouldn’t they have gotten one from him privately, rather than on TV?

Oops.

Now, as the Commissioner makes it sound like Tiger generously slipped this statement-reading into a tight babysitting and rehab schedule, Tiger was able to find time for a second day of supremely lame photo-ops designed to devalue paparazzi images because he hates nothing more than anyone making money off his back being photographed in less-than-flattering light.

Of course, this little stunt does nothing to get the paparazzi off the Elin/Sam/Charlie beat, but is that really important? Obviously not.

Anyway, here are the Getty images, courtesy of Stephanie Wei, though the TMZ shots of the staging scene are far more fun. And uh, what's with the front left tooth? Is that just the light hitting it in an odd way? And by the way, what is he smiling about? There's nothing funny about any of this.

At least the New York Times wasn't fooled, calling the image a "Pool photo by Sam Greenwood."

Even better, they chose not to crop Tiger out of the image identifying him, as the Wall Street Journal did in some editions Thursday:

According to TMZ, the Tiger in question is Corey Carroll, the 23-year-old golfer Tiger has been mentoring for a few years. And now apparently enlisting for his photo opps. Lucky guy!

And speaking of Elin, Radar says Tiger is desperately trying to change her mind about attending Friday's event. Because it's all about what The Kid wants.

Thursday
Feb182010

Three Fewer Bobbleheads To Be Present At Tiger's Statement Reading

Steve Elling writes about the GWAA's decision to boycott Tiger's statement reading.

Woods is refusing to answer questions, however, and outside of the wire service contingent, had limited the number of other media outlets to three. After the GWAA haggled with his spokesman Thursday to increase that number by another 12, Woods’ camp agreed to double the total number to six.

What generosity!

However, given that the GWAA ultimately felt it was inappropriate for Woods to dictate terms regarding how reporters would be allowed do their jobs – namely, by refusing to field questions – the organization voted to skip the event entirely.

“I cannot stress how strongly our board felt that this should be open to all media and also for the opportunity to question Woods,” said Vartan Kupelian, president of the 950-member group.

“The position, simply put, is all or none. This is a major story of international scope. To limit the ability of journalists to attend, listen, see and question Woods goes against the grain of everything we believe.”

One GWAA board member called it “a clear protest vote.”

Damon Hack says that with the decision, "a one-way relationship was forever changed."

On Wednesday night, I wrote in a message to the board that it was a "fiasco" for the Woods camp to choose how many reporters could attend, and that the whole situation was foul, including the Tour's decision to host him. Still, I didn't care if Woods read his statement from a teleprompter or scribbled notes on his hand, I wanted to be in that room to hear him. A journalist wants to be where the story is.

By Thursday evening, after further reflection and discussion, I saw the other side of the story, that calling a pseudo-press conference stocked with family, friends and handpicked media outlets wasn't journalism but a photo op.

I voted for the boycott.

Thursday
Feb182010

Coming Soon To A Theater Near You: The Enablers II

Some of us thought one positive outcome from Tiger's accident would be less of the sycophantic enabling that led him down his odd behavioral path?

I'm not suggesting he needs to be castrated and fed to Oprah before he can face the public again. But now that Tiger is a damaged asset you'd at least like to think that some of the folks who convinced him he was bigger than life would stop behaving like they did before.

Yet Wednesday's announcement revealed that in the golf world, Tiger's every need and desire will be tolerated no matter how silly the request.

We learned Wednesday via Garry Smits that the PGA Tour “was happy to provide the use [of the clubhouse]” at TPC Sawgrass, and the Commissioner revealed it was a no-questions-asked proposition despite taking away attention from Accenture's sponsorship of the match play.

At least there were suggestions that Commissioner Finchem appeared peeved. Larry Dorman in the New York Times...

...Finchem did not seem pleased about having to answer questions about the timing of Woods’s announcement or the fact that it will be held at the clubhouse of the T.P.C. Sawgrass at PGA Tour headquarters.

And Gary Van Sickle, writing for golf.com:

Finchem was at his diplomatic best, but he did seem a little annoyed (or maybe I just imagined it) that news from Tiger World was just about guaranteed to push his flagship World Golf Championship event to the back page of the sports section for the rest of the weekend.

Still, annoyed is not enough at this point. Allowing him to take over the TPC Sawgrass Friday, no-questions-asked, was another victory for Tiger and worse, a reminder that when it comes to the PGA Tour, he can do what he pleases.

Throw in the Golf Writers Association of America's compliance to the request to provide three seat fillers who won't ask questions, and Tiger has to be feeling pretty smug. However, James Moore at the Huffington Post couldn't believe the GWAA would agree to such an arrangement.

The first question to be asked, however, is about journalism. What kind of wire service goes to a "news conference" where no questions are allowed? This appearance has the potential for Tiger's friends and colleagues gathered in the room to turn into a bit of a Greek chorus as he reads his statement. Politicians often try this public relations scam when they are beleaguered.  It never works and only further angers reporters and they redouble their efforts to do critical reporting on the politician.

Not the GWAA!

Now I don't agree on the point about the "wires." They have a duty to tell us who was in the room, if Tiger had a big scar on his lip or whatever other details that good reporters spot.

More disappointing is the GWAA's compliance. Post-accident, the golf press was accused of looking the other way all of these years and many of us explained that this was an unfair insinuation because access was limited and besides, no could ever possibly have known about what was going on (nor was it germane to covering golf).

Yet when given the first post-accident opportunity to stand up to Tiger's controlling ways, reestablish some street cred and prevent a dreadful precedent, the GWAA jumped on board just as the PGA Tour did, running around in sycophantic circles at the behest of "the kid."

Good riddance.

Thursday
Feb182010

Friends, Family Turn Down Tiger Statement Reading Invites; GWAAers Still In

Jeff Shain reports on John Cook having not heard from Tiger in nearly three months, but he did receive an invite to Friday's TPC Sawgrass event. He's chosen to tee it up on the Champions Tour instead.

Radaronline says Elin Woods will also be a no-show Friday.

As for the three GWAA invites coordinated by IMG, Mark Steinberg and GWAA President, they're still planning to attend even though questions won't be asked. Though buzz in what remains of the golf writing community suggests an internal debate is fully aflame and the GWAA may decline its three seats. How they ever accepted on IMG's terms is still the question.

Wednesday
Feb172010

TPC Sawgrass Cart Barn On Full Lockdown! 

TMZ reports that the TPC Sawgrass staff is scrambling to empty the cart storage area so that Tiger's SUV convoy can enter free of camera-phone-toting beverage cart girls. Or, to prevent Tiger's entourage from using the Co-COO's parking spaces?

We're told officials believe Tiger will arrive in a fleet of black SUVs sometime before 11 AM -- when he is scheduled to speak. Tiger's crew will drive underneath the clubhouse -- presumably so he can move about freely without worrying about interlopers seeing or hearing anything Tiger doesn't want people to see or hear.

We're told local police officers will be on site during the event -- some of the cops will be in plain clothes.

Uh, it's a gated community. Seems like overkill, no?

Wednesday
Feb172010

"The Match Play stories that Tiger trounced"

Jim McCabe reports on one of the better days of the golf year, all under an antagonistic Golfweek.com headline!

Wednesday
Feb172010

Tiger, The Gloves Are Off: Players Edition

Jeff Rude on players critical of Tiger's decision to upstage the Accenture WGC Match Play, starting with Ernie Els, who won't be playing any Chevron World Challenge's anytime soon.

“It’s selfish,” said Ernie Els, mincing no words. “You can write that. I feel sorry for the sponsor. Mondays are a good day to make statements, not Friday. This takes a lot away from the golf tournament.”

In a brief telephone conversation Wednesday, Steinberg emphatically told me there was no intention to interfere with Accenture’s spotlight. He said he called one of the company’s executives “to give a heads up” and made sure the Woods’ statement would come “well outside the tournament’s TV window.” He added that “Accenture couldn’t have been more supportive.”

“It’s always good to get your information right before commenting,” Steinberg said of the criticism from Els and others. “It’s strictly a timing issue. There is a very good reason (to do it Friday) . . . and not do it next week.”

The only good reason I can think of is an announcement that Tiger is going to play at Phoenix next week, and a press conference about that could have waited until Monday.

Dave Shedloski at GolfDigest.com writes:

Though few players would speak on the record about it, those approached for comment by Golf World were universally dubious of Woods' decision to choose a tournament day to make his first public appearance. Not many were amused that "Golf's Global Summit," which these World Golf Championships are billed as, were being pre-empted by golf's global icon.

"That was the first thing we all thought of, like he is sticking it to Accenture -- and that the PGA Tour is part of it all," one player said in the locker room, shaking his head. "It's like Tim (Finchem, the tour commissioner) has lost his head. He wants Tiger back in the worst way, and so he lets this go on. I mean, we all want to see Tiger back, but this doesn't look good."

And this from Sergio:

"The timing of it is not the best," Sergio Garcia said, "but he has to do what's best for him, I guess."

I guess!

Even bigger points for Rory McIlroy:

Added Rory McIlroy: "He's got to come out at some point. I suppose he might want to get something back against the sponsor that dropped him."

And Geoff Ogilvy:

"The only thing I will say about it is that I would like to see him answer some questions," Ogilvy said. "If he answers some questions, then that would make it real because he wouldn't be working off a script. But it's a start. And he's got to start somewhere."

And this Tweet from Jay Williamson:

Wednesday
Feb172010

"She gave up the porn business at his request and went into hiding when the scandal broke in order to protect him."

Gloria Allred will be watching you closely, Tiger.

Nancy Dillon and Corky Siemaszko report for the New York Daily News that lawyers are expecting Tiger Woods to apologize to their clients.

The lawyer for one of Tiger's reputed conquests - hard-core porn princess Veronica Siwik-Daniels (aka Joslyn James) - said she wants the golfer to "apologize to Veronica by name on Friday for all of the anguish and distress that he has put her through."

Gloria Allred said she also wants Woods to "acknowledge that they had a three year romantic and intimate relationship, and that he told her that their relationship would last a lifetime."

"Veronica has made tremendous sacrifices for him," Allred added. "She gave up the porn business at his request and went into hiding when the scandal broke in order to protect him. But to date, he has not contacted her to apologize."

Wednesday
Feb172010

Tiger, The Gloves Are Off: Media Edition**

One element we've wondered about since November 27th has been media reaction to Tiger when he inevitably returns to civilization. So far, we've had a few writers criticize his lifestyle choices, a few that offered good solid reporting, and a few who sat the story out.

But after Tiger decided to upstage the Accenture Match Play today and Friday, it appears the mood is tilting toward tough love or brutal criticism.

Before we get to the writers, check out Golfweek's Photoshopped image (right). Ouch!

Do not miss Alex Miceli's Golf Channel on-air criticism, viewable about 1:30 into this segment with Scott Walker. Words like selfishness, gutlessness, sham and more describe Miceli's views of Tiger and Finchem's decision to hold a statement reading at the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse in the middle of the match play.

Jeff Rude writing for Golfweek.com:

The commissioner said he’ll attend the Friday event that promises to be a circus on the periphery at the least. The production will occur at Finchem’s home venue behind a guarded gate outside Tour headquarters. Not only will reporters not be allowed to ask questions for you – a public that has loaded his pockets with millions – but non-pool reporters will be shepherded to a hotel meeting room outside the gate.

We know this is controlling. It could also be construed as being gutless and selfish.

Garry Smits in the Florida Times-Union:

It might be understandable that Tiger doesn't care about Accenture, since the company was the first of his stable of corporate sugar daddies to ditch him in the wake of revelations of his extra-marital activities. But the Tour is allowing him to use the clubhouse and providing some support. Wonder how long the memories of Accenture officials will be when it comes time for renegotiation for title sponsorship of the Match Play.

And if the people in the room are going to be this tightly controlled, and no media questions taken, why couldn't this have been done at in a board room at Woods' home course in Isleworth, with one TV camera and satellite feeds? They could have handled it like Florida State handled Bobby Bowden's resignation announcement: one camera, a media relations official, a statement, a few memories, and voila -- email blasts for everyone.

Jason Sobel at ESPN.com:

If we know one thing about Tiger, it's that he knows how to hold a grudge. This wouldn't be the first example of Woods wielding his power to overcome an opponent off the course, as his first public statement since that Nov. 27 single-car accident in front of his home certainly will overshadow the events here in the desert.

Wednesday
Feb172010

Finally, A Reason To Be GWAA President!**

Nice job by Steve Elling who spells out how the Tiger statement-reading in front of three wire service writers and three pool reporters at the TPC Sawgrass came about.

Before the press conference was announced, Woods' publicist spoke with the president of the Golf Writers Association of America, who helped select which reporters would be allowed to attend. Woods' publicist said Woods mostly plans to explain himself and fall on his sword.

"That's it," said Vartan Kupelian, the GWAA president. "He just wants to come out and tell his side of the story. Not even so much that, but to mostly apologize and to see if he can start making amends."

Wow, the GWAA president knows more about the statement than the Commissioner of the PGA Tour.

So, I wonder who the GWAA president will pick? My phone didn't ring!

Reporters from three major wire services have been green-lighted to attend, and Kupelian said three other pool reporters will be granted access: Kupelian, formerly of the Detroit News; Bob Harig, a writer from ESPN.com; and a third reporter from a national golf magazine are expected to be admitted.

Right out of Dick Cheney's playbook! No good candidates, so I'll pick myself!

Good to see the president is looking out for his dues-paying constituents.

Kupelian invited Mark Soltau of Golf Digest to serve as the magazine representative, but hadn't heard whether he could attend. Golf Digest pays Woods a fee to write instructional articles for the magazine and Soltau, a member of the GWAA board, is employed by Woods to write stories for his website.

Now that's pretty funny, but this is really funny:

Steinberg issued a press release noting that other reporters excluded from the session would be allowed to watch from a nearby room ... located a mile away at the Sawgrass Marriott. It read: "As a courtesy, there will be a room made available at a nearby conference center for credentialed reporters."

The bolded type was supplied by Steinberg himself. In other words, TMZ, Radaronline, the National Enquirer and the other tabloids that have been breathing down Woods' neck since Thanksgiving needn't bother coming.

Wednesday
Feb172010

Tiger Photographed Jogging By Noted Sports Photographer!

Stephanie Wei and TMZ.com both sound skeptical that this Sam Greenwood shot was anything but staged. Either way, it's an upgrade over this debacle.

I'm just trying to figure out if that's a man or a woman he's running with.


Wednesday
Feb172010

"I have not talked to Accenture about this, no."

Tim Finchem's back-of-the-room press gathering was not one of his best. But that's his fault for serving at the behest of Team Tiger, to date one of the worst crisis management operations of all time.

Regarding Accenture, former Tiger sponsor and host of this week's now severely overshadowed event...

Q. Any feeling it's undermining this tournament?

TIM FINCHEM: I don't think so. I think that. You know, we have tournaments every week. But I don't think so. I think it's going to be a story in and of itself.

And a lot of people are going to be watching golf this week so see what the world of golf says about it, my guess is, so that will be a good thing.

Oh yeah, big thumbs up all the way around.

Q. How much contact have you had with him?
TIM FINCHEM: None.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TIM FINCHEM: I'm not going to assume anything. I'll wait and see what he says tomorrow, like everybody else and we'll learn what he has to say. If I -- there's nothing to assume or not assume.

Aren't assumptions part of the job description for a forward-thinking leader of an organization that represents hundreds of other constituents who aren't in need of the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse for a press conference to ask for forgiveness?

Q. -- when he makes his first public appearance but doesn't allow for any questions?
TIM FINCHEM: I don't know. I don't know what his plans are in terms of what he's going to say. I don't know what he's going to do after he finishes his rehab, you know, I think all of that is TBD. You all will make up your own minds about that and write about it and so will fans and people that have been impacted by it.

Who said rehab? I didn't, did you Tim? But how would you know? Is that an assumption?

Q. A couple of players have already said they feel this is just a slap at Accenture?
TIM FINCHEM: I don't look at it that way.

Q. Why?
TIM FINCHEM: I just don't. Like I say, they have their own reasons for their schedule. My sense is it had nothing to do with who happens to be playing this week.

So you haven't talked to him and you haven't made assumptions, but you have a sense that the announcement timing is not in any way a matter of petty timing?

Q. Did you talk to Accenture about this?
TIM FINCHEM: I have not talked to Accenture about this, no.

Whatever happened to interfacing with your sponsors?

Wednesday
Feb172010

First Tiger Statement-Reading Question: What Timing!

Okay, unless he's announcing that he's playing the Waste Management Open next week, there is simply no good reason for Tiger to hold this statement reading on Friday.

But more importantly, what does this say about the PGA Tour's relationship with Accenture? After all, don't they have a responsibility to protect the sponsor and the field at the WGC Match Play by telling Tiger to hold his statement off for a few days? Instead, they are hosting this reading, which could have been done just about anywhere since it's not a true press conference

Gary Van Sickle Tweeted this about Tim Finchem's talk with the media at Tucson:

So either the Commissioner will do just about anything Tiger wants, or he is no longer concerned with keeping Accenture happy. No?

Wednesday
Feb172010

Tiger Woods To Make Public Statement At PGA TOUR Headquarters, 11 a.m. ET Friday**

PGATour.com posts this news on their site:

Now, according to Darren Rovell on Twitter, there will be no Q&A. And he reports this from agent Mark Steinberg: "Tiger will make a public statement to begin to make amends."

But what a great way to upstage his old friends at Accenture by doing this the week they host a tour event!

For those of you with jobs, PGATour.com's Brian Wacker reports that it will be streamed live on PGATour.com. I suspect it might get picked up a few other places too.

Tuesday
Feb162010

"Just like on television, the interview room was full of chairs, although surprisingly, most of them were empty."

The match play gets underway tomorrow and while I couldn't find anyone writing about how they had to blow up a bunch of the Nicklaus greens to make the host course tolerable, I did enjoy a few stories. First this from John Huggan on the key to match play success:

Another much underestimated aspect of match play golf is short putting. Holing out well from inside five feet is another strength in the games of Woods, Ogilvy and Stenson. The Australian, in particular, rarely misses from short range, the point being that he is not prone to giving his opponent much in the way of encouragement. More often than not, Ogilvy's adversaries leave each green disappointed and thinking ever more negatively about their chances. Getting inside your opponent's head is a key element in head-to-head play.

PGATour.com also featured Tuesday reports from First Tee of Phoenix members rich in detail, including this from Sal Guardiola, reporting from Martin Kaymer's lightly attended press conference.

Just like on television, the interview room was full of chairs, although surprisingly, most of them were empty.

And just in case you thought he was exaggerating, Mike McGilton writes:

At about 10 a.m., I got to sit in on Martin Kaymer's press conference. As he came in the press room, I thought to myself, "Wow, there aren't that many sportswriters in here." The reason for that is because sometimes sportswriters are too busy with one article or interviewing someone, they can't be every at one time.

Tuesday
Feb162010

"Arnold’s had his hand in everything that we have been doing since we were invited by the USGA to do this again and signed the contract back in 2004."

Adam Schupak talks to RJ Harper about the state of Pebble Beach post AT&T and pre-U.S. Open.

Q. I understand there was an extensive review of the old archives and photos. What did your team learn from that?

A. First of all, Arnold Palmer’s one of our owners, and Arnold’s had his hand in everything that we have been doing since we were invited by the USGA to do this again and signed the contract back in 2004. The first task was to go back and take a look at what was the original intent of the golf course. We found the ocean was somewhat removed from play in many areas. You could play away from the ocean and never have a chance to even feel the ocean come into play. So many of the obstacles that we moved or bunkers installed, trees, etc., were pushed closer to the ocean so that the fairways would run a little harder to the coast. That was the original intent of the golf course design, no question, just to hug the coast line.

Interestingly, that version of this latest "restoration" effort differs from the version Alan Shipnuck wrote about this week:

For the Pro-Am the rough was barely a 5 o’clock shadow, but, importantly, the fairway shapes and widths will not change between now and the Open. The sexiest change the USGA has made for the Open is to push Pebble’s 4th, 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th fairways to the precipice of the Pacific while eliminating flora that might prevent errant balls from tumbling into the abyss. Pebble has always been a quintessential second-shot course, its tiny greens surrounded by so much trouble; now off the tee "it’s a little more dramatic, a little more dangerous," says Faxon.

Tuesday
Feb162010

"I think all of his advantages are probably gone."

Another bold proclamation from Johnny Miller, as reported in Doug Ferguson's notes column.

Meanwhile TMZ reports that Tiger met with Tavistock officials to plot his likely comeback appearance March 22-23, followed by the Masters.

Two things about the report are fascinating. One, that he was accompanied by security guards even though he was simply going from his home in Isleworth to his other home in Isleworth for a meeting.(Or, maybe he knows something about the Tavistock people we don't.)

And second, that it appears if he skips Bay Hill, as TMZ suggests, his first two events will be in tightly controlled media and fan environments. In other words, his schedule is being crafted around the ability to control access instead of what might make sense for his golf game or for events down the line hoping for a focus on golf.