Twitter: GeoffShac
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • 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
  • 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
  • A Life Well Played: My Stories
    A Life Well Played: My Stories
    by Arnold Palmer
  • 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
  • Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    by Ken Bowden

The more you learn about games, the more you are apt to realize the number of things golf doesn't have. It doesn't have the effervescent excitement with which football is blessed. It hasn't the grand strategy from which baseball largely derives its popular appeal. It does not require the stamina of tennis, the self-confidence of bowling, the finesse of billiards, the concentration of bridge, the intuition of chess. Yet, at its best, golf commands all these things--and much more something which probably cannot be said about any other game.  CHARLES PRICE

 

  

Tuesday
Dec012009

FHP Charges Tiger With Careless Driving; Case Closed?

One thing really leaps out from today's Florida Highway Patrol announcement of Tiger's $164 fine and four point addition to his drivers license record.

The FHP is not pursing criminal charges in this matter, nor is there any testimony or other evidence to support additional charges of any kind. After reviewing the evidence available to us, and in consultation with the Office of State Attorney Lawson Lamar, it was determined that there was insufficient evidence available to issue a subpoena for additional medical information that may exist in this case. We cannot speak to the existence of any blood evidence, nor are there claims of domestic violence by any individual.

Based on what we learned earlier today, state law does not require a "claim" of domestic violence for an agency to purse an investigation and possible charges. Was this because it's out of the FHP's jurisdiction to investigate domestic violence, above their pay grade or just something they chose not to pursue?

Tuesday
Dec012009

"Because of Florida's domestic-violence laws, admitting to the police that Nordegren in any way harmed him would virtually guarantee that the glamorous Elin would be led out of their mansion in handcuffs, even if he protested it."

Since the first AP alert on Tiger's accident, I've ascribed to the theory that he needs to just say what happened, maybe crack a joke or shed a tear, and move on ala Letterman or Kobe.

However, evidence is mounting that Tiger has been correct in remaining silent, though not for the reason these two more columnists noted today (here and here, thanks reader Tom).

There is mounting evidence that TMZ's assertion of a domestic violence charge is in play. And as Hanna Rosin lays out in a must read piece on Slate, there is very good legal reason for Tiger's silence, yet that may not be enough to make this go away.

Now, women are arrested in about 20 percent of domestic-violence cases. As such scenarios played out across the country, the updated domestic-violence laws accidentally created a new mythical woman: the Female Abuser. Never mind that the sociological research does not really support her existence in any great numbers.

A close legal reading of Woods' statement suggests that he desperately does not want his wife to fall into this category. "He is going out of his way to protect her from any concern that she's committed a crime," says Kimberly Tatum, a professor and domestic-violence expert at the University of West Florida. In Woods' narrative, the car accident, not Nordegren, caused his injuries. She used the golf club to get him out of the car after he'd crashed. "She was the first person to help me," he said. "Any other assertion is absolutely false." (He also then says that "this situation is my fault" and that he won't do it again, although it's unclear what, exactly, he's taking the blame for in this version. It's his fault he crashed his car? His fault he didn't rescue himself?)

Perhaps that statement wasn't such a great idea. And this is a key point that several pundits have made:

The Woods case brings up the uncomfortable problem with the new domestic-violence laws, which is that strict gender equality often confounds common sense. It is impossible to imagine Tiger occupying the same cultural brain space as Rihanna, with Nordegren playing Chris Brown. If Tiger had been chasing down his wife with a golf club and she had shown up with bruises, even if she had cheated with, say, K-fed, we would be a lot less ambivalent and complacent. If Nordegren had then issued a statement calling her husband her courageous savior, we would be outraged and filled with disdain and pity. All of these gender-dependent reactions make some instinctive sense. But legally speaking, they are beside the point. The law no longer makes the distinction.

Another bizarre wrinkle just arrived in the form of the voluntary outing and evidentiary offering by his neighbors' attorney today. He said that his 911 caller-client saw no indication the golfer was beaten or driving under the influence and that Elin did seem "upset about her husband's injuries" and "asked them to call 911."

Odd for the neighbors wanting privacy to be injecting those assertions into the case today, no?

I can't imagine the police are happy they went public with that statement?

And how could these young men know how to determine a golf-club-inflicted injury?

Tuesday
Dec012009

FHP Schedules Press Conference: 3 p.m. EST 

Date:                    Tuesday, December 1, 2009
 
Time                    3 p.m.
 
Location               Florida Highway Patrol Station, 133 South Semoran Blvd. Orlando, Fl. 32807       
 
SUBJECT:          Updated information in the Tiger Woods single vehicle car crash.
 
 

Monday
Nov302009

Tiger Woods Accident Clippings, Vol. 4

The good news for Tiger? Most of the written conjecture has shifted from the particulars of the accident to a focus on his handling of the crisis.

The bad news? Most experts and non-experts alike think silence is not the way to go about putting this to rest.

Joseph Berger and Larry Dorman talk to criminal defense attorney Mark O'Mara (yes, really) about the investigation and the talk of warrants for medical records:

O’Mara said that if the injuries were serious enough, the police could investigate what caused the accident and perhaps obtain records. Such a request can be done with or without a search warrant, he said, depending on the severity of the civil infraction or crime.

“If they are truly investigating a criminal offense, they have more basis to seek medical records,” he said, noting that the police would need to show probable cause. The police have not indicated that a crime has occurred, he said.

Mark Lamport Stokes offers a rare "analysis" and writes:

Paul Argenti, professor of corporate communication at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, believes Woods should have "come clean" immediately.

"The first rule is tell it all, and tell it fast," Argenti said. "With the addition of social media to the mix, this has become even more important.

"The blogosphere and crackpot gossip-mongers now control this story. Why would Tiger Woods want that? He is a public figure and as such the speculation will not end until he discusses what really happened."

AP's Nancy Armour also talked to image gurus who say look to David Letterman, take control of the story and offers this:

“Men and women have been forgiven by their public for misbehavior or misstepping, and even philandering,” said Gene Grabowski, who guides high-profile figures through public relations crises as a senior vice president with Washington-based Levick Strategic Communications.

“But what they have never been forgiven for is the cover-up,” he said.

Mark Bradley appears to be the lone writer agreeing with Tigers lawyers.

Should he paint himself into a Clinton-esque corner by wagging a finger and saying, “I did not have sex with that woman”? Should he risk being caught in a lie? Or should he admit to being an adulterer and thereby expose his already-exposed family to deeper public humiliation? Where’s the upside in that?

Steve Elling talks to Orlando attorney Joel Wilson who says not much can come of this on the legal side:

The way Wilson sees it, even if the Florida Highway Patrol is hopping mad about being stonewalled and has David Caruso and Laurence Fishburne tracking the investigation, Woods is likely facing the legal and social equivalent of a one-shot penalty.

"Everybody wants to blow this into something bigger, and while we can all speculate about what may or may not have occurred, when you get down to it, I don't believe they have any witnesses and aren't going to be able to bring any criminal charges against Tiger," Wilson said. "I don't think they have anything, really."

Bill Fields at GolfDigest.com suggests that the golf media's attitude to the story may not be impacted by concerns of access to Tiger in the future:

Some time ago I wrote something mildly critical of Woods. It's not unusual for people to write in when the topic is Tiger, who can be a lightning rod for people on either side of an issue, but this reader phoned, concerned that Woods might get upset and stop talking to the press. I had to inform the gentleman that Tiger wasn't in the habit of giving me -- or anyone else, for that matter -- one-on-one interviews. Woods gives pre-tournament press conferences and post-round post-mortems as obliged, and he can be expansive when talking about the game that he has come as close as anyone to mastering. But he prefers to let his play and his life speak for themselves, as DiMaggio and Hogan, among other American sports icons, did.

Alan Shipnuck believes Tiger's handling is straight from his playbook, not that he thinks it's a good idea:

The official word that Woods is taking his ball and staying home came in a terse statement on his eponymous website, which declared Tiger was "unable" to play "due to injuries sustained in a one-car accident last week." Oh, really? The dude won the U.S. Open with a broken leg but can't play in a glorified exhibition because of a fat lip? The World Challenge is the fifth most important tournament in golf to Woods — behind the four major championships on which he's built his legacy — and for him to skip it is evidence of how seriously Tiger is taking the first misstep of a very public life. It is also the only logical endgame for an image-obsessed control freak.

Jason Sobel and Bob Harig also debate Tiger's WD from the Chevron and the ramifications for next year while Michael Arkush ponders what all of this means for Tiger's quest to win more majors than Jack Nicklaus:

Tiger Woods had an aura about him. He maintained it with all his effort and intensity. It worked for him on a self-motivating level and was also an intimidation factor against his opponents. It was the same off the course as he never showed any cracks in the armor.

Now it’s different. There is controversy and drama and more scrutiny than ever. And seeing him clearly not know how to handle the situation has made his vulnerabilities even more apparent. If it doesn’t die down soon, the aura perhaps will have been shattered for good, and there’s no telling how that might impact his performance.

Lawrence Donegan says Tiger's WD this week will make for a less enjoyable week for top players:

The likes of Ian Poulter and Padraig Harrington may have made the long journey to southern California concerned only with winning a very sizeable cheque, but now they find themselves in the centre of a media maelstrom. Without Woods to talk to, the press will turn their attention to his fellow golfers.

James Corrigan suggests that withdrawing this week was a mistake:

Yet the suspicion that Woods may be trying to hide something will inevitably now only grow after he pulled out of the event and, perhaps more pertinently, out of the press conference he was due to give at the Californian country club today.

Randell Mell suggests that no matter what happens, it's going to be a long 60 days for Tiger.

He likely won’t play a tournament until the Century Club of San Diego Invitational, which begins on Jan. 28.

That’s 60 days.

Check that. That’s 60 hellish days if Woods doesn’t address the mysterious circumstances surrounding his crash.

You know who will relish those two months if Woods remains silent about the events that night of the crash? TMZ, National Enquirer, Star Magazine, People and other celebrity news and tabloid journalism outlets. They’ll be more than delighted to try to fill in the missing details Woods won’t provide.

Speaking of TMZ, they say Tiger is not exactly ingratiating himself to the neighborhood now that the area is on lockdown and one resident had their camera memory card confiscated.

We've officially hit rock bottom: you can now wager on how Tiger's situation will play out.

And finally, Lisa Gutierrez reports the material George Lopez has added to his stand up routine. Should make for an awkward bump-in at The Lodge next year during the AT&T National Pro-Am:

Referring to rumors that Tiger's wife attacked him with a golf club, Lopez cracked: "My theory is you know a woman is pissed off when she wants to beat you with the thing that you make money with. She doesn't want to just hurt you, she wants that ass-kicking to be symbolic."

Summing up Tiger's predicament - the rumors about an extramarital affair, the car crash, etc. - Lopez said: "Let me put it in terms that golfers would understand. He played the wrong hole, had an errant drive and now he's got to get out of a bad lie."

And if that wasn't bad enough, Lopez pulled out a blonde Barbie doll wielding a golf club over a Tiger Woods doll lying crumpled on a golf green. "It's the Tiger Woods Ass-Kicking Trophy Barbie Doll," he said.

Monday
Nov302009

Golf Channel Offering Half Hour Show @ 7 EST

It was sounding so good until the Curt Schilling part:

Tonight at 7 p.m. ET, Rich Lerner will host a Golf Central Special: Tiger Woods, examining all of the news and providing analysis on the Tiger Woods situation.  Contributing to the show will be the network’s team of reporters and analysts including Steve Sands and Jim Gray reporting from California and GOLF CHANNEL contributor John Feinstein and business reporter Adam Barr reporting on Madison Avenue’s reaction to the situation.  In addition, six-time MLB All Star Curt Schilling will join the show via telephone to discuss the situation from a professional athlete’s perspective.
 
Golf Central Special: Tiger Woods will re-air at 7:30 p.m., 1 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. ET.
 
Golf Central tonight at 6 p.m. ET will deliver viewers with the latest up-to-the-minute news on the Woods situation, and also will preview the upcoming tournament action at the Chevron World Challenge and the final stages of the qualifying tournaments on both the PGA TOUR and the LPGA Tour.

Monday
Nov302009

KABC, TalkRadioOne Appearances Tonight

I'll be appearing on KABC 790's John Phillips show tonight at 7 PST and TalkRadioOne.com's Mark Germain Show at 8 PST. Both sites stream online.

And in case you want to clear your calendars, I'll be on with Peter Kessler's XM/Sirius show at 10:40ish a.m. Wednesday. It has been known to stream at PGATour.com.

Monday
Nov302009

"We're being given the runaround."

Nick Allen in the Telegraph offers an update on the possible warrant situation and shares some insight from a "police source" about the tone of the investigation.

Officers from the Florida Highway Patrol want to establish whether Woods' facial injuries were caused by the incident, in which he hit a fire hydrant and a tree outside his mansion at 2am, or a domestic violence incident.

Last night two officers were seen visiting Health Central Hospital in Ocoee, Florida, where Woods was treated following the accident on Friday.

Police also want to see if the moments leading up to the crash was captured by security cameras at Woods' £1.5 million mansion in a gated community in Orlando, Florida.

Woods, 33, the world's number one golfer, and his wife Elin Nordegren, 29, have declined three times to speak to patrol officers about the crash.

They are under no legal obligation to do so but their decision has been described as "unusual" by police and led to a swirl of speculation about the circumstances of the crash.

A Florida police source said: "There is a feeling that the police are being made to look foolish in this matter.

"They have tried to be accommodating but it has been thrown back in their face. Tiger has refused to help on three occasions. We're being given the runaround."

TMZ now has what it claims is an accident eyewitness account.

And Lawrence Donegan files an in depth look at Tiger's backstory and how it plays into the media handling of the accident, with yet another excellent reminder of how best to deal with these things:

If modern media manners have taught us anything, it is that nothing works as well as the swift mea culpa. Woods, an avid sports fan, will know only too well about the case of baseball star Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees, who, after repeated denials he had used performance-enhancing drugs, was revealed before the start of the 2009 baseball season to have tested positive for steroids.

Stephanie Wei takes a look at the media coverage and in particular, the golf media's take on the accident:

This is also unfamiliar territory for the media that covers him. Even though many columnists are prodding Tiger to tell the truth, they’re doing it for selfish reasons — they want to stop writing about it, too. It makes their jobs a lot tougher if one of the greatest athletes of any generation with a pristine reputation turns out to be a(n) (allegedly) womanizing jerk who is (literally) above the law. The media is so enamored by Tiger that even if he were to spit in an old lady’s face or slap a child taking a picture of him in the middle of his backswing, many writers would still probably find a way to compliment him on his competitive drive.

Monday
Nov302009

Tiger Not Coming To The Chevron World Challenge***

As I Tweeted about half an hour ago, Golf Channel is now confirming that we won't see Tiger Woods at this week's Chevron World Challenge. Their sources are saying that doctors are advising against travel due to post-accident headaches he's suffering.

Here's the current field:

Tiger Woods**
Steve Stricker
Kenny Perry
Jim Furyk
Sean O'Hair
Lucas Glover
Stewart Cink
Zach Johnson
Anthony Kim
Mike Weir
Vijay Singh
*
Camilo Villegas
Y.E. Yang
Paul Casey
Padraig Harrington
Lee Westwood
Martin Kaymer
Ian Poulter
*Justin Leonard (replaces injured Singh)
**Graeme McDowell (replaces injured Woods)

Monday
Nov302009

Latest Florida Highway Patrol Statement - 11/30/09

Looks like they are trying to defuse some of the TMZ reports, but leading off with a reminder that Tiger is refusing to speak only maintains the intrigue...

As of Nov. 30, 2009, the Florida Highway Patrol has been unable to speak to Mr. Woods about the crash he was involved in on the morning of Nov. 27, 2009, despite attempts to do so.
 
Mr. Woods’ representatives have provided us with his driver license information, vehicle registration and current proof of insurance, as required by Florida Law.
 
Contrary to various media reports, the Florida Highway Patrol has not made any comments regarding the details of the ongoing crash investigation involving Tiger Woods as it relates to medical information, or any other aspect of this investigation.
 
The crash investigation is ongoing and charges are pending.
 
At this time, the agency has not scheduled press conference, and the FHP is not conducting any on-camera, recorded or telephone interviews.  All updates will be sent via e-mail.

Monday
Nov302009

A Few More Woods Accident Stories-Monday Morning

FoxNews.com is refutting TMZ's claim of a warrant search for medical records with a quote from the Florida Highway Patrol's Chief of Affairs.

"We don't need a warrant to get records, that is incorrect," said Florida Highway Patrol Chief of Public Affairs Capt. Mark Welch.

However TMZ now reports that the warrant may be in a quest to obtain surveillance video footage or as they are now reporting, a continued quest for medical records after a morning visit to the hospital.

And SportsByBrooks notes that TMZ mistakenly claimed that Elin's latest story of driving out in a golf cart could not be possible since no cart was visible in crash scene photos, when in fact there was one visible.

Erin Geiger Smith contemplates the possible charges police could be investigating, narrowing it down to DUI, Filing a False Police Report or Domestic Violence.

Meanwhile Woods was criticized on most morning news shows for his Sunday statement and more writers are chiming in that he's taking the wrong approach to this.

Crisis manager Kevin Sullivan at Yahoo:

1. Don't delay. Hold your scheduled press conference Tuesday to kick off the Chevron World Challenge, which, since it benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation among other charities, makes it the perfect backdrop. Without going into every private detail, provide a sense of what led to the collision. Give an explanation, take a couple questions, and then move on to previewing the tournament and how it will benefit the work of your foundation.

2. If you have something to own up to, do it completely and you will be forgiven. Just ask Kobe Bryant.

3. If not, disarm the skeptics with your sense of humor. Gary Peterson of the Contra Costa Times had a suggestion: Say you were excited about a Black Friday sale and got carried away. Then give a sincere explanation.

George Vecsey in the New York Times:

This is a man who has never had the yips in public. But we are now witnessing his hooking and slicing his image straight into the rough, into the trees, into the drink.

 

Phil Mushnick in the New York Post:

It comes as thin surprise that Woods and Team Woods have been less than cooperative with authorities in the three days following his 2:25 a.m. domestic car wreck/whatever the heck happened. From the time he was 15, he was taught to beat the rules.

As a kid, identified as a can’t-miss pro, his father and the monolithic rep firm IMG teamed to circumvent USGA rules by funding Woods’ amateur career. IMG hired Earl Woods as a “talent scout” — with the tacit, Rumpelstiltskin-like agreement to deliver Tiger the instant he turned pro. Done and done.

U.S. PGA Tour rules disallow appearance fees. Team Woods beat that, too. It made multi-million dollar endorsement deals with several PGA tournament title sponsors, Buick, among them, thus, although Woods skipped many Tour events, his participation in his sponsors’ events was guaranteed.

Rex Hoggard finds one attorney who says Tiger is doing the right thing by staying silent.

As a rule, Samuel Kohrs, an Orlando-area criminal defense attorney, tells his clients to never give law enforcement officials a statement.

“People think they can talk their way out of things and they can’t,” Kohrs told GolfChannel.com on Sunday. “If they are going to arrest or charge you it will not matter what you say. If they aren’t going to arrest you nothing good can happen from (giving a statement).”

Kohrs has seen all of this before, sort of. Much of the way this has been handled by FHP is standard except for the repeated trips by officers out to Isleworth, the tony gated community where Woods lives.

“I’ve never had a client who said they didn’t want to talk and (officers) kept coming back,” Kohrs said. “It’s kind of weird.”

And legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin was interviewed by his network, CNN:

Toobin: Woods may not talk to them because there is possibly something unpleasant and embarrassing that he doesn't want to share with them, and he has that right. Based on what is publicly known, Woods has a public relations problem much more than a legal problem. He's arguably the most famous athlete in the world, and his team's overall strategy is a gamble that his general statement of responsibility won't be overtaken by events or other disclosures.

Sunday
Nov292009

Woods Accident Clippings, Vol. 3**

Today's LA Times Special Section Front Page (click to enlarge)This should be the final Woods accident clippings edition but after reading various accounts, it appears the decision to avoid the police Sunday, hire a criminal defense attorney and offer an incomplete statement is only raising more questions both in the press and law enforcement circles.

TMZ.com is reporting that the Florida Highway Patrol apparently is focused on obtaining a search warrant to seize medical records from the hospital to determine if wounds Tiger sustained are consistent with a car accident or domestic violence. They also are getting conflicting stories:

One big piece of evidence showing probable cause ... sources tell us Tiger's wife, Elin Nordegren told FHP troopers she went looking for Tiger in a golf cart, came upon the accident and then used a golf club to break the window to gain entry. That's a very different story from what she first told Windemere cops shortly after the accident -- she never mentioned a golf cart. Nordegren told Windemere police she had walked out of her house, saw the crash, went back inside to get a golf club and returned to the vehicle.

Also startling from a media perspective was this series of questions posed by AP's Fred Goodall in the main wire story, most definitely not column setting:

Even with his first public comments on the 2:25 a.m. Friday accident, Woods left several questions.

— Where he was going at that time of the night?

— How did he lose control of his SUV at such a speed that the air bags didn’t deploy?

— Why were both rear windows of the Cadillac Escalade smashed?

— If it was a careless mistake, why not speak to state troopers trying to wrap the investigation?

golf.com's Michael Bamberger talks to several lawyers and concludes:

Tiger Woods's post-accident strategy, legal and otherwise, is now becoming clear: say as little as possible. And do whatever he can to make sure his wife, Elin Nordegren Woods, does the same.

And he shared this from attorney Bill Wallshein:

"The public is expecting the state to do a thorough job here," Wallshein said. "Woods is in a Catch-22." Had he answered investigators questions, Woods would have given information that he regards as private to, in essence, the public. He also would have opened himself to possible perjury charges had he made untruthful statements. But by not answering investigators questions, he risks increasing their desire to dig deeper. The bottom line, though, is that there are no serious injuries and only minor physical damage. The legal upshot will likely be nothing more than a traffic ticket.

No one nailed it better than Steve Elling in a must read column explaining why Tiger needs to confront this publicly, do it now and move on.

With every passing hour that he remains holed up and mostly unresponsive, public sentiment is turning against Tiger Woods, a guy with a Teflon image, a Q-rating that's off the charts and a public persona that has made him a role model to millions of impressionable fans.

The tide of sentiment is growing into a tsunami, even among the striped one's faithful.

It has come to this: Woods is being excoriated by visitors to his own website, where his evasiveness and stonewalling regarding the details surrounding his mysterious late-night car crash and alleged extra-marital relationship have turned the site into a free-fire zone

After sharing some of the more interesting site posts, Elling notes this about the Team Tiger support and response:

Woods employs an armada of managers, spokespersons and website writers -- more than any other sports figure I can think of. Off the top of my head, between his charitable foundation, personal spokesman, his IMG management and such, I can think of a half-dozen different founts of potential information at his disposal. Either they aren't giving him the counsel he seemingly needs, he's not listening, or he's getting bad advice and choosing to follow it.

And he makes several killer points to wrap it up, but none more powerful than this:

There are a trillion examples in sports where honesty, or at least some degree of full disclosure, has bought a prominent athlete some currency with the public. That path eventually led to forgiveness. Even for the likes of Kobe Bryant. Andy Pettitte came clean on the steroid front and survived just fine. They all faced the music, but Tiger is turning a deaf ear.

That said, Elling then points out in a blog post why it's unlikely we'll see Tiger this week at Sherwood.

Lawrence Donegan of The Guardian offers this about a possible appearance this week:

Whether or not he will be able to hold back the tide of speculation that has engulfed his carefully nurtured reputation over the last three days remains to be seen. He is due to make his first public appearance since the accident at a press conference on Tuesday in southern California, at his annual golf tournament, the Chevron World Challenge, at Sherwood country club.

In normal circumstances, his meeting with the media would concentrate on the event – it raises funds for his charitable foundation – and the state of his golf game but, assuming Woods does not withdraw because of his injuries, it now threatens to rival Michael Jackson's funeral as one of the most watched cable news events of the year.

James Corrigan on the email from tournament organizers still don't know Tiger's status for this week:

Organisers of the Chevron World Challenger admitted yesterday they were still in the dark as to whether Tiger Woods would be playing in California this week. And seeing as the world No 1 is the host of the event this was an unprecedented situation.

But then, the game of golf never has known anything like the furore created by The Great Tiger Car Crash Mystery.

Frank Nobilo at Golf Channel also weighed in with some interesting thoughts on what this will mean for Tiger on the course (not much), of course (a lot) and this week (not sure).

Besides Tiger's statement (check out Deadspin's take on it) and the release of the 911 call Sunday and new images of the Escalade, the Florida Highway Patrol released a less-than-cheery-sounding statement.

But in keeping with the say-nothing theme, agent Mark Steinberg reiterated to CNBC's Darren Rovell that his client doesn't have to say anything and won't:

"We have been informed by the Florida Highway Patrol that further discussion with them is both voluntary and optional," Mark Steinberg, senior vice president and global managing director of golf for IMG, told CNBC.

"Although Tiger realizes that there is a great deal of public curiosity, it has been conveyed to FHP that he simply has nothing more to add and wishes to protect the privacy of his family."

And I know you were worried, but Tiger has Nike's full support:

"Tiger and his family have Nike's full support," the statement said.  "We respect Tiger's request for privacy and our thoughts are with Tiger and his family at this time."

Randell Mell tells us more on Tiger's attorney, Mark NeJame:

NeJame, whose name didn't emerge in the investigation until Sunday, appears to be more than a criminal defense attorney. He has proven an effective spokesman for clients under intense media scrutiny.

NeJame was described as “media savvy” by Orlando Weekly Magazine when it first ranked him among the 50 most powerful people in Orlando a few years back. When Orlando Magazine put him in its 50 Most Powerful People listing in 2005, it touted him as having a client list “that includes public officials who find themselves in hot water.”

This past year, NeJame represented Jonathan Speegle, who was accused of pushing his girlfriend, Nichole Hammond, to her death over a balcony at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort on New Year’s Eve. All charges were dropped. NeJame once represented Cindy and George Anthony, the parents of Casey Anthony, who was charged with first-degree murder in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee

John Hopkins of The Times contemplates Tiger's recent on-course issues and drops this tidbit:

Now, though, Woods is in the Age of Mystery and Scrutiny. The mystery surrounds his marriage, which is rumoured to have been in trouble for some months. There have been stories of confrontations when Elin has tackled her husband.

As for Rachel Uchitel, it was just your basic low profile arrival at LAX. Based on the National Enquirer's first response to her denials, attorney Gloria Allred, hired by Uchitel, is going to have her work cut out for here.

Finally, beyond the emotional and physical bruises this has inflicted on Tiger, The Times' Simon Barnes gets to the heart of why this is so intriguing to the public and why the incident is both revealing and potentially deadly to Woods' earning power:

But for a dozen years Woods has presented himself to the world, and been represented by just about everyone he has come into contact with, as someone from another order of being. He and those around him have conspired to hide his humanity.

Why should anyone do such a thing? Because there’s money in it, obviously.

Whatever you do, whatever you think, whatever you say, never, never, never rock the corporate boat.

That is what Woods has made himself: an expression of the central importance in life of the corporate dollar. So he has made his millions and the companies around him have made their billions — and it has all come about by presenting the world an illusion. A pseudo-Tiger, a false vision of a perfect being, so perfect that scarcely an atom of his real personality — any personality — is discernible.

Sunday
Nov292009

"Until Sunday, the only World Cup that Italy was accustomed to winning was on the soccer pitch."

A shame the World Cup didnt' get much attention but Sean Martin does offer this post on the Molinari brothers and their impressive win.

And my head is still spinning from Nick Watney and John Merrick's final-round,10-under-par ALTERNATE SHOT 62 to finish at -20-under and tie for seventh. Needless to say that was a tournament record for the grueling final round format.

Sunday
Nov292009

"Wind is the course's great defence."

Hey, they're playing golf this week on a breathtaking course...in Australia. (Sorry Sherwood.)

John Coomber reminds us of key holes at New South Wales and Ran Morrissett offers this excellent photo tour and design critique.

Sunday
Nov292009

Tiger: "This situation is my fault, and it's obviously embarrassing to my family and me."

Strongly worded statement. Doesn't address whether he'll play at Sherwood next week or why he is passing again on the Florida Highway Patrol interviews.


As you all know, I had a single-car accident earlier this week, and sustained some injuries. I have some cuts, bruising and right now I'm pretty sore.

This situation is my fault, and it's obviously embarrassing to my family and me. I'm human and I'm not perfect. I will certainly make sure this doesn't happen again.

This is a private matter and I want to keep it that way. Although I understand there is curiosity, the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible.

The only person responsible for the accident is me. My wife, Elin, acted courageously when she saw I was hurt and in trouble. She was the first person to help me. Any other assertion is absolutely false.

This incident has been stressful and very difficult for Elin, our family and me. I appreciate all the concern and well wishes that we have received. But, I would also ask for some understanding that my family and I deserve some privacy no matter how intrusive some people can be.


This AP story suggests that Tiger has hired criminal defense attorney Mark NeJame and that no other meeting has been scheduled. Here's Nejame's bio.

Sunday
Nov292009

Listen To The Tiger Woods 9-1-1 Tape

Very confusing as you can imagine when there's a shocking accident and at that hour. As always the operators are impressively calm and professional. Is there a part about midway through where we hear Tiger's mom, Kultida saying "What happened?" (I hope not for her sake, because no mother should have to go through that kind of scare.)

Here it is for download.

TMZ.com offers it here.

golf.com posts it here.

Saturday
Nov282009

Woods Accident Clippings, Vol. 2

Corey Dade and Reed Albergotti of the Wall Street Journal share new details about the 911 call:

Friday at 2:28 a.m., a neighbor of the Woodses was awakened by the sound of the crash and called 911, according to Jim Solomons, a spokesman for the Orange County sheriff's office. Mr. Solomons said the man, whose name hasn't been released, walked out of his home and saw Mr. Woods on the ground and visibly injured.

Mr. Solomons said the recording of the 911 call reveals that the neighbor "wanted help" and told the 911 operator that "there's a man on the ground."

A transcript of the 911 recording shows that the caller said Mr. Woods appeared to be unconscious but breathing as he lay beside his black Cadillac Escalade. Police arrived at 2:33 a.m.

Fred Goodall offers a few tidbits about the investigation including plans for investigators to return Sunday after being turned away again Saturday, and also the revelation that Woods is not required to speak to those investigators if he so chooses. AP also tracked down Elin's relatives:

In a telephone interview, Woods' father-in-law, radio journalist Thomas Nordegren, told The Associated Press in Stockholm that he would not discuss the accident.

"I haven't spoken to her in the last few ... " Nordegren said about his daughter, Elin, before cutting himself off. "I don't want to go into that."

Susan Jacobson of the Orlando Sentinel shares this new information about the car and which windows were broken by Elin with help from a golf club:

The 2009 Cadillac Escalade sustained $5,000 to $8,000 in damage to the front right and left, troopers said. The left and right rear side passenger windows were also broken out, but the FHP hasn't determined how that happened, Montes said.

TMZ.com continues to assert their theory from sources that "Tiger told a friend that his wife went ballistic at around 2:00 AM yesterday and scratched his face up -- all because of reports he allegedly had cheated on her. He left the house, started driving away and she attacked the SUV with a golf club," which led him to get distracted and hit the hydrant. They also note these reasons for the Florida Highway Patrol's continued interest:

If Tiger and his wife acknowledge she scratched him up, she could be arrested for domestic abuse. And, as we first reported, Tiger told his friend he had been taking prescription painkillers and that was why he seemed out of it after the crash. Although we're told there was no alcohol involved (and that seems to be the case), driving under the influence of painkillers could be a problem, if it's provable.

By the way ... one of the things the Highway Patrol wants to see is the marks on Tiger's face, and whether they are consistent with scratch marks or impact on a car. As we reported, there was no blood on the steering wheel, making the accident scenario suspicious. But if the marks indicate a human touch and they last for a few days, we're guessing Tiger will not show up at his golf tourney on Thursday.

TMZ also claims to have a source calling themselves a friend of Tiger--soon to be former friend--who recounts a Friday conversation in which says Elin had "gone ghetto" on him and that he had to run to Zales to buy a "Kobe special." (The story includes an explanation for those of you like me deficient in hipster speak.)

On the column side, the approaches vary but the theme is pretty simple: this is not Tiger's finest hour but with some shrewd PR management, he can put this episode behind him pretty quickly.

Art Spander writes:

When Tiger Woods was rolling along a few years ago, winning majors, winning minors, winning everything, the great Dan Jenkins predicted lightheartedly nothing could stop Tiger except an injury or a bad marriage.

No one is laughing any longer.

Jay Busbee at Yahoo writes:

It's not often that Tiger Woods gets outplayed. But it's happening right now.

In the hours since his early-Friday-morning accident, facts, innuendo and supposition have combined to put a minor one-car bump in a cloistered Florida subdivision onto front pages worldwide. Why? Because this story presses all the necessary buttons: celebrity, sex and violence. And if it's left to grow on its own, it's going to get much worse before it gets any better.

Jason Sobel at ESPN.com believes its time for Tiger to speak:

On this occasion, however, playing it close to the vest should only prove to be a disadvantage. He will not own an intimidation factor over his peers by clouding the facts; he will not garner any more lucrative sponsorship deals by remaining surreptitiously coy.

Instead, for perhaps the first time in his professional career, Tiger Woods needs to come clean.

Michael Bamberger believes if history is an indication, Woods won't be fessing up to anything soon.

He's never made any claims to sainthood. He never claimed to know God better than you or me, never claimed abstinence from adult spirits, never claimed to be leading a perfect life. Now we know he's not.

James Corrigan wonders about next week's tournament at Sherwood and writes:

What is certain is that if Woods does enter that media room, the awaiting throng will be bigger than for most majors. The galleries lining the fairways would likely swell just as much. In that sense, Woods would have done one hell of a job as the tournament promoter. Even for this spotlight-hogger, the focus would be unprecedented.

Bill Elliott of the Guardian reviews Tiger's various bouts with the media and feels like he finally has an explanation for Tiger's recent on-course attitude:

There is, however, another fact to be inserted and it is this: in 2009 Woods, returning after several months off, recuperating from a major knee operation, has been a strange amalgam of surliness and discontent. Often in the past he has appeared sulky when events have not bent to his will on this course or that; on occasion he has been ill-tempered; but this year there has been something else and it has been hard to pin it down.

And notes this about his relationship with the media:

Of course, the more he tries to manipulate the agenda while his advisers suppress much that would be innocently interesting about such a high-profile personality, the more the media seize on titbits and gossip and often get it wrong. So we are now in a vicious circle and one that can only end in tears. Whether this is that time is unclear. It just might be. Whatever happens, Woods knows that he has unprecedented power as a sportsman.

David Walsh in the Times chalks much of the negative press to this point on lousy IMG crisis management:

Even Woods’s polished agent, Mark Steinberg, and the finest minds at the IMG management company will have their work cut out to spin this story in a way that enhances the reputation of their most famous client. IMG has played no small part in presenting the hugely talented Woods as a man in control of his world.

Randell Mell sums up the view of many on Saturday's decision to punt:

Woods may have an innocent explanation about what happened, but his declining to meet with Florida Highway Patrol officers for a second consecutive day on Saturday only fuels speculation that does Woods no service.

This is Woods’ nightmare.

No matter how innocent his explanation as to what happened early Friday morning may be, he’s enduring a media onslaught the likes of which he’s never seen. In fact, it rivals anything golf has ever seen.

Larry Dorman and Liz Robbins of the New York Times talk to crisis management experts and not surprisingly, they aren't impressed with the Team Tiger/IMG response so far.

Woods may have an innocent explanation about what happened, but his declining to meet with Florida Highway Patrol officers for a second consecutive day on Saturday only fuels speculation that does Woods no service.

And on a lighter note, The Times ends their main story (titled "Crouching Tiger, hidden hydrant") with the various jokes floating around the web:

Perhaps Tiger should have used a driver

That’s the first time Tiger Woods has failed to drive 300 yards

Tiger Woods drives into a water hazard

After a wayward drive, Tiger Woods found water before nestling behind a tree.

Tiger Woods crashed into a fire hydrant and a tree ... he couldn’t decide between a wood and an iron.

I find it’s a nightmare driving at 2.05am: sometimes you can’t see the Woods for the trees.

Tiger Woods has been dropped by Gillette after admitting that his crash was the closest shave he had ever had

U tell yr wife everything? My wife thinks I’m at the office. I tell her I’m playing golf when I’m with another woman

Apparently, the only person who can beat Tiger Woods with a golf club is Elin.

Tiger’s wife went for him over a birdie.

What was the second worst part of Tiger’s car accident? The police found the driver in the trunk.

Tiger Woods owns several cars; it’s a shame that he got a hole in one

Here's ESPN's latest report filed by Tom Rinaldi:

Saturday
Nov282009

Big Names Weigh In On Woods Accident

Okay, maybe that was a bit of a stretch when we're talking Lee Janzen and Inga Hammond, but before we hear from those two giants of pop culture, credit Steve Elling for tracking down Tiger's neighbors/friends John Cook and Charles Howell.

Cook said he was across the street from Woods’ house on Saturday morning, hitting balls on the driving range, when Woods’ housekeeper was spotted walking the family’s pet dogs.

“I talked to her for a moment and all she was that he was OK,” Cook said.

Other than that, details have been nil. Cook said he spoke with the director of Woods’ charity and got precious little enlightenment, either. Cook’s phone call to Woods wasn’t returned, he said.

“I have no more of a clue what happened than anybody else,” Cook said. “I think his phone probably blew up.”

Hal Boedeker at the Orlando Sentinel managed to get Inga Hammond on the phone and the Golf Channel anchor clearly is thinking about the next time she has to face Woods.

"Everyone needs to give Tiger Woods the benefit of the doubt in this situation," Hammond said. "He's not one of those athletes who has been in trouble before either with the law or his sport. He's really been a model citizen."

And this is line of the weekend so far:

WFTV talked to golfer Chris DiMarco about what had happened to Woods. "Everybody thinks about what would get them out of their house at 2:30 in the morning," DiMarco said. "Obviously, 2:30 in the morning, nothing good is going to happen anyway. So I can only speculate. I don't think I've ever left my driveway at 2:30 in the morning. Even if it's a fight or whatever, there's a couch."

And saving the best for last, Lee Janzen talked to the Orlando Sentinel's Jeremy Fowler and offered his profoundest insights:

*On what Tiger might have been doing in his car so late:
"There's some speculation (around the club) that since he doesn't always sleep well, he might have been going to workout. Sometimes he gets up really early to workout in the clubhouse. It's hard to tell at this point. He's not the type to go out late and be irresponsible or anything like that."

And my favorite:

On Tiger's as a person dealing with the wreck:

"He's an overcomer. He's played with practically a broken leg before, so he'll get through this."

An overcomer?

Saturday
Nov282009

"I'm asked why people don't often see me and Elin in gossip magazines or tabloids. I think we've avoided a lot of media attention because we're kind of boring..."

File this one under Facebook-postings-we'd-like-to-take back.

A reader noted the above entry on Tiger's Facebook page, which was in response to a reader email question posted back on October 14th. The entry was also featured on his website.

Saturday
Nov282009

"The Florida Highway Patrol has received information that Tiger Woods and his wife were not available to be interviewed by state troopers, as we had previously scheduled."

A news release from the Florida Highway Patrol. They don't sound pleased:

The Florida Highway Patrol has received information that Tiger Woods and his wife were not available to be interviewed by state troopers, as we had previously scheduled.  This announcement came from his agent.  Troopers were asked to return tomorrow (November 29th).   This is still an ongoing crash investigation.  The 9-1-1 tapes provided to FHP investigators from the Orange County Sheriff’s office have not been reviewed by the investigating trooper.  Once that has been done and we determine whether or not it is pertinent to our case, I will advise you when those will be released.  (They will be sent via email when they are released).  Please remember there is no specific timeline on when that will occur.  The Florida Highway Patrol is the sole agency investigating this traffic crash. The Florida Highway Patrol will not address any other statements that have been circulating throughout this incident, unless those statements were made specifically by this agency.  Currently, there is no other information to be released.  At this time, there is no press conference scheduled.  I will send out all future updates via email.  Thank you for your patience, I have received numerous inquires.  If there is a media outlet that would like to be added to the list, please send me an email.
 
Sgt. Kim Montes
Public Affairs Officer
Florida Highway Patrol

It should also be noted that in the emailed release, the sentence "This is still an ongoing crash investigation" was in bold.

Saturday
Nov282009

Police To Release Woods Accident 911 Tape Sunday

According to the latest wire report, it sounds as if the Florida Highway Patrol wants to wash their hands of this ASAP:

Authorities say they won't speculate on what happened before Tiger Woods crashed his luxury SUV, and they expect to release 911 tapes from the accident Sunday.

Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman Sgt. Kim Montes said Saturday that investigators are only looking into the incident as a traffic crash. She says investigators are "trying not to get on the rumor mill."

Here's an ESPN/Tom Rinaldi report from this morning that includes clips from the Windermere Police Chief talking about what his officers saw: