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

The object of golf architecture is to give an intelligent purpose to the striking of a golf ball. To be worthwhile, this purpose must excite and hold interest. If it fails in this, the character of the architecture is at fault.
MAX BEHR

 

  

Saturday
Dec052009

Stevie Stands By His Man; Tiger's Return Set For Torrey Pines

Jonathan Milne reports that caddy Stevie Williams, who knows a thing or two about car crashes and angry reactions, has spoken to Tiger and plans to stick by him...as if he had a choice in the matter.

Woods' caddie for the past 10 years, Aucklander Steve Williams, returned home this week, and last night raced in the saloon car grand prix at Upper Hutt's Te Marua Speedway.

While refusing to discuss details of Woods' personal life, Williams confirmed that Woods did confide in him. "That's what friends are for," he said. "You support them through good and bad. It's like marriage, really."

And it seems Stevie revealed where Tiger will be returning to the PGA Tour. That's our Stevie!

He and Woods would reunite for the first tournament of the new year, at Torrey Pines in California, he said.

Friday
Dec042009

Anatomy Of The Woods-Uchitel Negotiation...With A Little Help From Online Friends?

I know a lot of you are sick of tabloid talk and I certainly am leery citing websites I never had looked at before this week, but I do think the last few days exposed an interesting saga of the backstage negotiations and positioning that may have taken place.

If Radar is to be believed, they are reporting Friday night that "Tiger has reached an agreement" that will pay alleged mistress Rachel Uchitel "more than one million but less than three million" dollars to not reveal information about their relationship.

We'll likely never know if the story is accurate, but Radar does say the negotiation was "acrimonious at times" and a close look at events over the last few days would suggest their description may be accurate.

The backstory, all times EST:

  • Rachel Uchitel's link to Tiger Woods was revealed last Wednesday November 25th when the Enquirer hit newsstands.
  • Friday morning the 27th Tiger has his accident.
  • By the weekend Uchitel was talking to bloggers and reporters who contacted her via Facebook, erratically issuing denials.
  • She then flew to LA Sunday to meet with attorney Gloria Allred, who eventually scheduled a Thursday at 11:30 press conference. That morning, Dec. 3rd, TMZ reports at 6:10 a.m. in a post titled Tiger's Mistress -- I Lied For Him that "sources tell TMZ the fight at Tiger's home the morning of the crash was triggered by a series of text messages between Tiger and the woman."

  • Just hours after that post, the press conference is cancelled.

  • Radar reports at 12:30 p.m. that the cancellation came after last minute phone calls from Tiger's "representatives."

  • Two hours later Thursday, Radar reports that Uchitel has saved hundreds of text messages and other evidence.

Now here's where it gets interesting.

  • This TMZ report appears on December 3rd at 6:03 p.m. titled "Tiger Woods Used Childhood Friend as Cover" and suggests Bryon Bell coordinated Uchitel's travel to Australia.
  • On Dec 3rd 2009 at 12:09PM TMZ reports "Rachel and Tiger Spoke Last Night"
  • And then what appears to be the turning point, TMZ posts a 12:31 a.m. Dec. 4th item offering "Concrete Proof of Tiger's Secret Rendezvous" with what appears to be an email to Uchitel from Bell confirming her flight to Australia. The email has to have come from Uchitel/Allred or someone who has hacked her account, no?
  • Then Friday morning Dec. 4 at 9:33 a.m. TMZ posts an item titled "Tiger Woods Didn't Pay Rachel a Penny" and claimed there were "many phone calls back and forth between Rachel, Tiger and their reps," and that Rachel "decided not to come out fighting at a news conference."

  • Radar posts a lurid item about Tiger, Rachel and Ambien Friday Dec 04, 2009 @ 05:15PM  

Now at 8:52PM EST on December 4th, Radar reports a multi-million dollar settlement has been reached, less than 24 hours after the apparent leak to TMZ of Bell's email to Uchitel and just hours after another revealing suggestion on Radar.

Must have been a lively few days of negotiations.

And it looks like a 7&6 drumming for Allred, with an assist from TMZ and Radar.

Friday
Dec042009

Monty Loses His License While Tiger Pays $164 Fine!

Seems our man loves to drive his X5 a wee bit fast and thanks to the UK's tough policy on speeding, won't be able to drive for six months due to much tougher standards in the old country than Florida. (Not to worry Monty, you can still enjoy the bliss of washing the cars!). Patrick Hill reports:

The European Ryder Cup captain did not attend on either day of his two-day trial at Carlisle Magistrates' Court. He pleaded not guilty through his solicitor, Michael Shrimpton.

His defence counsel unsuccessfully tried to question the accuracy of the LGi2020 laser device used to record the speed, claiming it was "not foolproof" and prone to interference from side-beams.

But District Judge Gerald Chalk told the court: "I reject the defence argument. This is a Home Office-approved device. It is type approved, and whether it is vulnerable to side-beams is not something I can, or would want to, adjudicate on."

"I am satisfied Mr Montgomerie was using excessive speed. I endorse his license with three points, and as he is liable to the 12-point totting-up procedure, I am disqualifying him for six months."

Judge Chalk ordered Montgomerie to pay an £850 fine, £4,000 costs and a £15 victim surcharge, pending an appeal launched by the golfer's lawyer.

This is beautiful:

Mr Shrimpton had earlier pumped his fist in triumph and told the prosecution solicitor, Andrew Perry, "You're stuffed", after wrongly believing that he had the case won.

Why am I not surprised Monty would hire a solicitor who would do something so lame?

Friday
Dec042009

Ah...Back To Reality: A Course Setup Boondoggle To Savor!

Remember the good old days when we bloggers had to harp on about course setup boondoggles instead of TMZ reports? I feel refreshed after reading about the latest Australian Open debacle that players apparently saw coming, even though the folks in charge did not. (BTW, love the picture of Ogilvy and Goggin, right. They look like they're having fun!).

Adam Lucius for Sportal:

Australian Open director Trevor Herden has been forced to defend the state of the greens and the decision to start play in 60km winds as the second day of the tournament began in a blaze of controversy at the NSW Golf Club on Friday.

In a move that angered many in the field, 39 players teed off in the treacherous conditions only for play to be suspended after just 80 minutes as balls began rolling off the greens.

Several of the greens were already under the spotlight for being too fast, the strong winds only exacerbating the problem at the exposed coastal course.

But naturally, it was someone else's fault. I think this is the first time a forecaster was directly blamed:

But Herden rejected any suggestion play should not have started, claiming the players had taken the decision 'in their stride' despite strong rumours to the contrary.

He said weather forecasters had got it wrong in predicting the southerly would hit in the late afternoon, not early morning.

And he used a stimpmeter reading, which he said indicated the NSW GC greens were not too fast, to douse criticism of the putting surfaces.

"We've done everything to protect those greens. The greens are not fast," he said.

"We've done all we can to protect those three or four greens (that are considered too fast)."

You have to love the backtrack immediately following the defense!

And you know it's bad when the leader says this.

After firing a second successive 66 to lead after an incomplete second round, Stuart Appleby said the delay was "totally, absolutely avoidable".

Bernie Pramberg writes:

"The players were in agreement that the greens should have been a lot slower," said experienced Craig Parry. 

"I've played in a lot stronger winds at the British Open where the greens are slower to handle the conditions."

Forty-two players were on the course when play was suspended at 8.30am after Peter O'Malley's putt on the 13th green was blown 5m past the hole.

"It takes a lot to get me upset and I was upset today," O'Malley said. "The greens were obviously too fast for the conditions."

Friday
Dec042009

Daily Beast Shocker: Golfers Play As Many As 20 Events A Year, Often Meet Future Wives At Tournaments!

Those are just two of the many stunning and profound revelations in Gerald Posner's laugh-out-loud  disaster of a story on the dark side of the PGA Tour. Excuse me, the "PGA" as he erroneously calls it.

This is the same reporter whose insights into the Woods' pre-nup renegotiations have been widely reported as fact:

As with the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball, golfers like Daly log a lot of time on the road, away from families, ensconced in deluxe hotel suites. A top golfer might do up to 20 one-week tournaments a year.

Who knew? Do they play home games too?

Caddies frequently pull the prettiest girls out of the autograph line, often offering a private chat with the pro. The caddy then often serves as the go-between. Players never give out their telephone number or contact information, instead leaning on the caddy as a trusted arranger. It partly explains why some caddies get paid so well—often, with a percentage of the winnings—to carry a bag and judge breaks on the green. For instance, Steve Williams, who is Tiger’s caddy, has been with him since 1999; Tiger even attended Williams’ 2005 wedding.

Imagine that! Letting a looper rub elbows with a higher class of people. Anything for your pimp would be the message?

“You’d be surprised if you check the bios of all the pros,” one caddie tells me, “how many say they met their wife at this or that tournament.” That doesn’t mean that every wife who met her pro golfing husband at a tournament was a groupie, but it’s another sign of how much social and extracurricular life is part of the pro tour.

Frankly, I don't know if I can ever look at the PGA Tour the same way ever again. I thought they were all in bed by 9!

My sources said that clubhouses sometimes resembled frat houses, with golfers exchanging graphic stories of the previous night’s escapades. Players talk about “the 19th hole,” or dub a girl willing to have anal sex a “double bogey.” A “water hole” is anyone who performs only oral sex.

Okay. Now that I hadn't heard before.

Friday
Dec042009

Rickie Fowler 10-under Through 14**

Four holes to play, par-72 layout so there's a shot at least of a you-know-what.

Friday
Dec042009

Tiger Should Return To The PGA Tour At...

...Kapalua. For the 2010 SBS Championship.

Here's why:

  • He can enter the Friday before and various outlets will have missed the chance to apply for a credential.
  • Even if they are able to apply for some sort of last minute credential, the pain and expense of trying to get a short-notice flight and hotel room near Kapalua will discourage most, reducing his exposure to the inevitable circus that will await his arrival at Torrey Pines.
  • Galleries will be smaller, more relaxed. This reduces the possibility of hecklers, protestors or whatever other kind of nut is likely to appear.
  • The tournament is no longer sponsored by a car manufacturer, reducing the number of potential jokes about his driving.
  • Wide fairways...again, just thinking of the driving jokes.
  • Played in early January, it gets him back in the public eye sooner and perhaps...perhaps helps make life a little easier for everyone involved.

Your thoughts?

Thursday
Dec032009

Tiger Accident Clippings, Vol. 7

Before the AP's breaking story revealing that Tiger was snoring while lying on the pavement after Elin purportedly rescued him from his Cadillac, I was prepared to declare that the coverage tide was turning with Thursday's Rachel Uchitel news conference cancellation and subsequent suggestions she was not bought off by Tiger.

But asleep? Snoring? Expect that and other audio tape revelations to reignite questions about the Florida Highway Patrol's investigation.

As for the pre-nup negotiation stories, I've decided not to link the stories because they simply are not within reason. We're expected to believe that after the morning marriage counseling sessions, the Woods' are engaged in a re-negotiation of a financial agreement? And then going back for the afternoon marriage counseling session?

Regarding the idea of sources revealing what only a handful of people could know about, we're talking about Tiger Woods' inner circle. The same inner circle that is so disciplined they've never leaked a possible upcoming tournament appearance, much less information as sensitive as a supposed pre-nup renegotiations after a high-profile accident? (Then again, this inner circle may have been caught emailing travel arrangements to a mistress.)

But as for the pre-nup rumors, remember that it's easy to make up some tall tale about renegotiations since only an Elin-confession could prove or disprove such numbers.

On the accident coverage front, the tabloid sites are continuing to report Tiger's affairs while the media have begun to bicker about their favorite subject: themselves!

Thanks to reader Joseph for Jason Whitlock's lively shot at the mainstream sports media for their criticism of Tiger and in particular, his suggestions of hypocrisy directed at Rick Reilly and Charles Pierce.

Tiger is evil for exercising the most fundamental right we enjoy? He's stupid because he wants to deal with his marital problems in private? He owes the public an apology for promises he broke to his wife?

This is all a bad joke. This whole affair highlights why the mainstream media have lost the public's trust. We don't deserve it. We're controlled by hidden agendas.

Speaking of Reilly, he wrote this about Tiger's statement:

If you know the man, the apology Woods issued Wednesday is staggering. For him to speak of "regret" and "personal failings" is unthinkable. It's like a guy who detests snakes being lowered into a pit of them.

This is a man who gives quotes away like a hostile witness in a murder trial. When he answers a question in three words, he's mad he didn't answer it in two. He doesn't even like to reveal yardage.

John Paul Newport says a "compact with the media, both gossip and sports, has now been destroyed."

The golf media alone, cowed by Woods’s awesomeness as an athlete and his colossal role in selling the game, would probably never have unearthed what the gossip media has. The golf media never would have dared.

Culturally, however, this invasion has been a shock for golf—in particular the glee with which the gossip magazines, Web sites and television outlets have reported their allegations about Woods’s marital infidelity this week. That obvious delight is probably the biggest difference between the sports media and the gossip media.

Randell Mell talked to some PR gurus who make a good case for a public appearance by Tiger:

“It will look like he’s hiding something, and that will create questions among the media and the fans and in turn among his sponsors,” Gordon said. “That’s the exact flow chart. Media, fans, sponsors. Sponsors only care about people who buy their products. If he starts to lose credibility among them, the sponsors will care. Right now, the sponsors are holding firm, and they should. But if he tries to avoid the subject, it will continue to create questions rather than answer them.”

Woods’ addressed his right to privacy in three of the five paragraphs of his statement. How did that come off?

“There are certain things he just can’t say, or he will not have any credibility saying, at this time,” Maloni said. “He’s certainly not going to have a lot of credibility screaming for his privacy, at this time.”

Rich Lerner offers this somber take from the golf point of view, which has been confirmed by the sad vibe out at Sherwood:

Not long ago we talked about Tiger Woods in the same breath as Jack Nicklaus. Now, it’s Eliot Spitzer, Mark Sanford, John Edwards, Bill Clinton and Kobe Bryant.
Sad.

There is grieving for the end of an era, the end of Tiger as heroic and untouchable. He’s simply human now, like us.

And finally, Susanne Shapiro has analyzed Tiger's handwriting for Deadspin. I learned so much.

Thursday
Dec032009

A New Chinese TV Reenactment!

It's not on YouTube yet, but Keith Olbermann featured it on Countdown after showing the previous reenactment. The new video from Apple Daily News starts about four minutes into the embedded segment:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

Thursday
Dec032009

9-1-1 Caller: Tiger On The Ground...Snoring

The Associated Press has obtained the police interview with Tiger Woods' neighbor Jarius Adams and his sister Kimberly Harris. In it we learn that when Adams came upon the scene to help Tiger's wife Elin, and before calling 911, Adams found Tiger on the ground with a cut on his lip and...snoring.

Golfweek has summarized some highlights from the interview and posts audio of the interview.

In the Orlando Sentinel, Anika Myers Palm and Willoughby Mariano note this about the interview:

In the 16-minute interview, Harris, who was visiting from Texas, said she was in a bedroom when she heard what she described as a "knocking sound" and saw the tail lights of a black truck through a window. She awakened Adams and asked him to go outside.

Adams saw Tiger Woods, unconscious and snoring, in the street on the passenger side of his 2009 Cadillac Escalade. Elin Woods was wearing a black jogging suit. Woods was wearing a blue shirt and khaki shorts. A golf cart was next to Tiger Woods' vehicle, with two golf clubs in it.

The golfer's wife begged for help.

"She said, 'Can you please help me? Can you please help me?' " Adams said.
"I said 'OK.' I immediately just ran back to the house, got the phone, called 911, ran back out the house again to go back out there to see if she needed any assistance," he said.

Tiger Woods was bleeding.

"Not a lot of blood … nothing on his shirt, nothing on his hands," Adams told investigators.

Also of note on the interview are questions from the interviewer of Harris and Adams about possible surveillance video of the crash and confirmation that Tiger's mom was the person heard in the 911 call asking "What happened?"

AP's Doug Ferguson writes:

Harris told troopers that Woods' mother, Kultida, and mother-in-law, Barbro Holmberg, were at the scene, but the AP could not confirm that.

A voice that strongly resembles Woods' mother is heard in the background during the 911 call saying loudly, "What happened?"

A spokeswoman for Holmberg, mother of Elin Nordegren, didn't know if she was in Florida when the accident happened.

"I don't know for sure, but I don't think so," spokeswoman Ewa Malmborg said. "I have not been informed about that. She was here again working on Monday again anyway."

In the FHP interview, a trooper asked Harris about the women and if they talked to anyone at the scene.

"The cops came, the Windermere cops came first, then the security guards came," Harris said. "And then it appears Mr. Woods' mom, and Tiger's wife's mom came out after the fact. I don't know if they heard the commotion, I don't if she, his wife, left and came back. But they walked across the grass and were outside as well."

Thursday
Dec032009

Jesper Stands By His Comments; Has More To Say

Reader Tim was watching the Golf Channel pre-game show for today's Chevron World Challenge and reports that Inga Hammond went back to Jesper Parnevik to follow up on yesterday's interview.

With a night to sleep on his comments, Parnevik was shown saying something to the effect of, "all the respect i had for him is gone." I presume they will air it again tonight on Golf Central.

Thursday
Dec032009

Press Conference Cancelled...

...Radaronline says Rachel Uchitel's press conference, as hosted by attorney Gloria Allred, has been canceled due to "unforeseen circumstances."  According to Radar, money is now being offered Uchitel to prevent embarrassing details from emerging.

As noted last night, the suggestion that Tiger's "organization" may have set up and paid her way to Australia implied others were involved in coordinating this side of Tiger's life.

Now, I know you guys label it blackmail (I'd call it a gift for time served), but why didn't this happen with the other women before they went public?

Wednesday
Dec022009

Tiger Accident Clippings, Vol. 6

The reaction to Tiger's statement became the primary focus of Wednesday's coverage despite a the emergence of a voicemail message and an embarrassing US Weekly story hitting newstands (with AP reporting the voicemail and other details).

Unfortunately for Tiger, Thursday figures to be another day the story drags on as Radaronline reports that Rachel Uchitel's attorney Gloria Allred has scheduled a press conference for Thursday and they believe she's going to reverse her story, admitting to an affair with Tiger and other salacious details about the crash night. The questions asked and answered at that news conference will be of particular interest because Radar also is reporting that Tiger's "organization" paid for her trip to Australia.

Also picking up steam on newscasts, talk radio, blogs and elsewhere are, for what they are worth, Bill Zwecker claiming in the Chicago Sun-Times who says he has Woods camp sources and reports various details about two-a-day marriage counseling sessions and pre-nup renegotiations.

As for the statement, for me the most powerful response to Tiger's statement was penned by Yahoo's Dan Wetzel.

Tiger took every bit of the money his image delivered. And with great rewards come great responsibility. That’s the deal. You can’t have one without the other. You can’t have your image beamed relentlessly into everyone’s living room and then expect people not to be intrigued with your life.

You can’t release glowing pictures of your family and think the public isn’t going to seek information when it comes crumbling down.

It’s fine that he’s not perfect. It’s just that he had IMG sell him as such.

Tiger should’ve stopped after the contrite first paragraph. He should’ve hunkered down and tried to salvage what he can of his marriage. Maybe he still will.

The rest speaks to an athlete detached from reality, myopic in his view of the world which has surrounded him by yes men willing to do anything to keep Tiger the Brand believable.

Christine Brennan in the USA Today is just as blunt, suggesting Tiger came off sounding like "a man who is more sorry about being caught than he is about cheating on his wife," and denouncing IMG for turning into "stumbling, bumbling amateurs when trying to stare down the scary tabloids."

We've learned, for instance, that the image that Tiger has so carefully presented to us on his website, that of the ultimate family man with those beautiful photos of his wife and two children, is a charade. We know this because he has now admitted that he has cheated on his wife and those young children.

We also know that Tiger is furious that the world now knows what he had hoped to keep secret. We can tell that from the carefully-crafted statement he put on his website Wednesday morning.

Then, however, Tiger spends the next two paragraphs basically attacking everyone and anyone who he somehow thinks is responsible for his do-it-yourself fall from grace — everyone except the one truly guilty party, which would be Tiger himself. He lambasts the tabloids and news media for having the audacity to invade his privacy, as if to say, "How dare you do this to me."

When you've been exhibited on national TV at the age of 2 and told by your beloved father that you're going to be the next Gandhi or Mandela, as the late Earl Woods said of his son, this is the way you think. If you're on top of your game, that can work wonders, creating an air of invincibility that can lead to 14 major golf titles before you turn 34.

Steve Elling is decimated by Woods' admission:

With evidence of serial philandering mounting at a seemingly hourly pace over the past week, Woods on Wednesday fell on his sword, pardon the pun.

Another false idol has thus been toppled. Angry at being duped, people in the streets picked up rocks and began stoning him immediately.

Elling also writes about the First Church of Tiger Woods disbanding. Yes, TigerWoodsIsGod.com will be on the web address market soon.

Gary Van Sickle names all of the things Tiger has done wrong and it amounts to a major change in the aura that made him so deadly on the course.

Nothing has stuck to Tiger before. This one, this digital inquisition, will. It has turned into a public-relations nightmare. All Woods can do is lie low, duck and cover. The worst part for Woods isn't the public humiliation, although that's pretty bad; it's the damage to his relationship with his family. There are two children involved and, by all accounts, Woods is a doting father. It remains to be seen how they will pull through this.

Jay Busbee offers advice on rekindling the Tiger mystique:

There are several steps he needs to take, immediately. First off, he needs to quit blaming the media. I'm not saying this as a member of the media, I'm saying this because blaming someone else for his own failures of character isn't going to win him any lasting sympathy.  The whole "I did wrong but it's also your fault for publicizing it" approach he took in his apology is cheap and a way to skirt the real issue. (Plus, there's an old saying by Mark Twain that you don't pick a fight with someone who buys his ink by the barrel -- or, in 21st-century terms, who counts his site visits in the millions.)

Jeff Rude at Golfweek also wasn't taken by Tiger's statement.

1) Unfortunately, he spent much more space pleading for and preaching about privacy than he did apologizing. Playing defense with offense is nothing new. I agree that everyone should give the man his space; his marriage is a private matter. That said, he has no one to blame but himself – not the news media, not other parties.

Michael Bamberger ponders what life will be like when Tiger returns.

Sportswriters will be freed up, at least for a while. For years now, if you asked Woods about steroids or politics or his home life, he gave you close to nothing. Guys basically gave up. Or I did anyway. Now that he's no longer untouchable, it's a new day. Who knows? It's not likely, but maybe Tiger will talk more about himself now. A safer bet is that others will now be more willing to engage in Tiger talk.

Not one sponsor will drop Tiger. This whole thing will have absolutely no effect on his golf game. He's not as good now as he was in 2000, but nobody is ready to stand up to him week in and week out. Phil will have his weeks, but Tiger's a marathoner and over time — the next five or eight years — he will wear you out. He'll get to 19 and fade away.

Jeff Neuman attacks the various questions, posing as a sports therapy hotline operator consoling a fan. This was a nice reminder of how things have changed:

You're pretty flip about adultery.

Or maybe realistic. Athletes screw around. They're young, fit, competitive, and spend a lot of time on the road. It's nothing new; look to the pantheon of all-time greats in any sport and you'll find a surplus of testosterone and a dearth of selectivity. Golf is absolutely not exempt from this.

Sports stars are targets, and have to recognize in the TMZ Age that their reputations are only as good as the cell phones around them. We don't have grainy video of Babe Ruth and three flappers having a grand time in a room above a tavern, but not because he wasn't up there. Also, the press wouldn't report such things back then. Today? Fuggedaboudit.

Nancy Armour reports that sponsors are sticking by Tiger--for now, while the New York Times' Larry Dorman and Stuart Elliott note that future negotiations will be a lot more interesting.

A Gillette spokesman, Michael Norton, added on Wednesday, “At this time, we are not making any changes to our existing marketing programs.”

Although the tone of that remark was neutral to positive, saying “at this time” kept Gillette’s options open. Large corporations play hardball, and as Phil de Picciotto, president of Athletes & Personalities at the marketing firm Octagon, sees it, recent events have made hardball much more of a possibility in future negotiations with Woods.

“Companies may use this opportunity as an excuse to try to renegotiate compensation, given their outside budget pressures due to the economy,” de Picciotto said. “Or they may take the tack that, ‘We stood by Tiger, we had to suspend some advertising, and therefore there’s some diminished value and we’d like a reduction in price or an extension.’

Out at Sherwood, Jim McCabe reports Tiger friend Steve Stricker's remarks Wednesday:

“I’m not going to kid you,” Stricker said. “It was a shock to see (how this has unfolded). First of all, the accident and then all the developments after that.”

Of course, Stricker was referring to Woods’ statement in which he apologized for his “transgressions,” in light of the stories being published about allegations of his infidelity. While he conceded it was a personal matter, Stricker seemed to understand that Woods’ celebrity will keep it in the forefront of the news.

Mark Lamport-Stokes lets Tiger know that Zach Johnson is there for him.

"My belief system is it's a time for forgiveness," added American Johnson, a devout Christian. "It's time for putting things aside and trying to become better people.

"I try to put myself in that situation and say: 'You know what, he's a friend of mine, I forgive him and I hope they get through it.' If I can be of any support, I'm here."

Bob Harig talks to fans at Sherwood about their views of Tiger and his handling of the accident. Harig also steps back and wonders if some of the early publicity would not have been as bad had IMG proactively issued a statement instead of letting news agencies lean on a detail-light FHP report to dictate the first news that went out on the wires:

On Friday, when news first broke that Woods had been in a car accident, initial reports indicated he was in a hospital in serious condition.

Truth was, Tiger was already home before the news broke. For a couple of hours, followers were under the mistaken impression that Woods was hospitalized with serious injuries.

It took a long time for word to come that Woods was fine, and it took even longer for Tiger to respond with a statement in which he rebutted speculation that a domestic dispute was part of the accident.

Much of the media circus outside the Isleworth gates could have been avoided had more information been forthcoming.

Rex Hoggard counters that it's not so simple in a piece pondering where Tiger goes from here.

Some have criticized Camp Tiger since “Black Friday,” saying they didn’t move quick enough to gain the public relations higher ground. Those people don’t know Woods, who has won 14 major championships and 71 Tour titles doing things his way.

Rick Reilly with lengthy comments about Tiger in an ESPN appearance:



And finally, Rocco Mediate is fired up in his defense of Tiger and his disdain for the media coverage:

Wednesday
Dec022009

Will Tiger's Likely Return Event Remain Sponsorless And Other Television Ramifications?

Tod Leonard recently documented the surprising inability of the Century Club and PGA Tour to find a sponsor for the event formerly known as the Buick Invitational.

Since there is a very good chance Tiger Woods will make his next start at the "Century Club of San Diego Invitational," the sponsorship status of the event may tell us just how much or how little sponsors want to be a part of the Woods brand post-accident. After all we're talking about monster ratings for an event that already drew well and while tickets and schedules have been printed, we know the PGA Tour can move quickly to insert a sponsor last-minute, though we could be inside a window that makes it impossible to sign someone for the late January event.

And this is assuming a major corporation wants to be associated with Tiger Woods.

As for the future, Doug Ferguson addressed the idea of ratings and next year's television contract negotiations:

Neal Pilson, former CBS Sports president who runs his own consulting business, did not think it would affect the next deal.

"We're seeing this in the glare of the day, these incredible revelations," Pilson said. "At some point, he'll play golf and he'll move on. At some point, this will become more embarrassing to the media than Tiger."

TV ratings typically double when Woods is contention, and he has begun his season every year since 2006 at Torrey Pines in San Diego, which starts Jan. 28.

"Ratings will be good for golf. Aren't you going to be watching?" Pilson said. "The ratings for Tiger are going to be higher than they might be ordinarily. I don't think there will be any negative fallout for golf. This is a Tiger Woods story. He happens to be a golfer, but he's a worldwide personality."

Wednesday
Dec022009

NY Post Story Taken Down?**

In today's New York Post, Keith J. Kelly detailed a purported quid pro quo arrangement between the National Enquirer owner American Media and Tiger Woods. As you'll note from the link above, the story has since been taken down but was syndicated on other Media Corp. sites and as of this posting, remains online. 

The National Enquirer caught Tiger Woods in a steamy extramarital affair two years ago, but killed the story in exchange for the golfer doing a rare cover-shoot for its sister mag -- despite Tiger's exclusive deal with a rival publication, a former editor told The Post.

Woods' camp, fearful of a potential public-relations nightmare in spring 2007, allegedly agreed to do a cover for Men's Fitness -- a magazine owned by the Enquirer's parent company, American Media, former Men's Fitness editor-in-chief Neal Boulton said yesterday.

"[American Media CEO] David Pecker knew about Tiger Woods' infidelity a long time ago," Boulton told The Post. "[Pecker] traded silence for a Men's Fitness cover."

Wednesday
Dec022009

Tiger's Statement, Trimmed

Regular readers of this blog might be shocked to learn that I worship at the temple of Chili Palmer, the great 20th century philosopher who once said to Leo Devoe the dry cleaner, "Never say anything unless you have to."

I share this in light of Tiger's statement today, which, contrary to Chili's belief, was necessary in some form. But after reading much of the media and fan reaction to the statement (negative), I offer you this edited version with a follow up question.

I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.

Although I am a well-known person and have made my career as a professional athlete, I have been dismayed to realize the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means. For the last week, my family and I have been hounded to expose intimate details of our personal lives. The stories in particular that physical violence played any role in the car accident were utterly false and malicious. Elin has always done more to support our family and shown more grace than anyone could possibly expect.

I will strive to be a better person and the husband and father that my family deserves. For all of those who have supported me over the years, I offer my profound apology.

Might this, minus the lecture about privacy, have been better received?

Wednesday
Dec022009

Jesper: "But when you are the guy he is, the world's best athlete, you should think more before you do stuff...And maybe not just do it, like Nike says."**

He may like to dine on dirt, but you have to admire Jesper Parnevik--who introduced Tiger to Elin--for expressing his, uh, views. Bob Harig reports on the comments made to Golf Channel's Inga Hammond (presumably viewable this evening on Golf Central or their 30-minute Tiger show airing immediately after):

"I would be especially sad about it since I'm kind of -- I really feel sorry for Elin -- since me and my wife were at fault for hooking her up with him," Parnevik said. "We probably thought he was a better guy than he is. I would probably need to apologize to her and hope she uses a driver next time instead of the 3-iron."

Wednesday
Dec022009

PGA Tour Issues Statement On Tiger's Statement**

I really have no idea why they issued this, who it is on behalf of, or how this accomplishes anything:

Tiger's statement speaks for itself. We offer our full support to Tiger and his family and will continue to honor and respect his request for privacy in this matter. We will have no further comment on Tiger's statement.

Wednesday
Dec022009

Woods Accident Report Released

You think the jokes about driving were bad, wait until they get ahold of the police diagram released along with police photos that include curious shots of Tiger's surveillance cameras, broken windows reportedly broken with wedges and broken glass near a book on physics.

Wednesday
Dec022009

"Although I am a well-known person and have made my career as a professional athlete, I have been dismayed to realize the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means."

A new statement from Tiger Woods:

I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.

Although I am a well-known person and have made my career as a professional athlete, I have been dismayed to realize the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means. For the last week, my family and I have been hounded to expose intimate details of our personal lives. The stories in particular that physical violence played any role in the car accident were utterly false and malicious. Elin has always done more to support our family and shown more grace than anyone could possibly expect.

But no matter how intense curiosity about public figures can be, there is an important and deep principle at stake which is the right to some simple, human measure of privacy. I realize there are some who don't share my view on that. But for me, the virtue of privacy is one that must be protected in matters that are intimate and within one's own family. Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn't have to mean public confessions.

Whatever regrets I have about letting my family down have been shared with and felt by us alone. I have given this a lot of reflection and thought and I believe that there is a point at which I must stick to that principle even though it's difficult.

I will strive to be a better person and the husband and father that my family deserves. For all of those who have supported me over the years, I offer my profound apology.