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

Golf is a funny game. It's done much for health and at the same time has ruined people by robbing them of their peace of mind. Look at me, I'm the healthiest idiot in the world.
BOB HOPE


  

Monday
Dec142009

Golf Channel Going Full HD, Debuting New Studio; No Word On Whether Michael Breed Will Stop Yelling

The acoustics cause him to yell, right? Anyway, the "understated" look of the past Golf Channel sets along with the corny copyright-free music is out, to be replaced by new sets, music and a simulator:

ORLANDO, Fla. (Dec. 14, 2009) – With the year’s first telecast of Golf Central on Jan. 4, GOLF CHANNEL not only will reveal the network’s first major studio makeover since 2003, it will launch its high-definition production capabilities for all its studio programming.

The new-look GOLF CHANNEL studios in Orlando, Fla., will be a departure from its understated look of the past, with a complete overhaul featuring high-tech elements and contemporary stylings.  The new sets will live in the same 4,700-square-foot space but now will include four, separate “environments,” from which various studio shows will originate.

“This spectacular new studio – as well as new graphics and music for Golf Central – show our continued commitment to updating and improving our channel,” said GOLF CHANNEL President Page Thompson.  Commenting on the show’s reach into 82 million homes in the United States and 40 million elsewhere around the world, Thompson continued, “Golf Central is the leading news program for the sport, and now we have a new studio that truly reflects the passion and dedication we have to this great game.”

It's also the only news program of the sport!

Anchoring the studio will be the set of Golf Central, which is situated in the very center to provide greater depth of field for the viewer and a desk that pivots 180 degrees to showcase different backgrounds.

A dedicated analyst area will feature a desk with integrated telestrators that will allow each analyst to “telestrate” on demand. Adjacent, a large, multi-touch screen allows them to interact with video and graphics for demonstrations.  The desk also is fronted by two, scrolling tickers at the base of the desk that will offer tournament leaderboard information and other golf news as it happens.  The appearance of a new interview set will be consistent with the rest of the studio’s high-tech feel, but also will incorporate materials and colors traditional to the game of golf.

Additionally, the studio will feature a myriad of monitors of all sizes that will be used for graphic treatments, as well as stand-up stations for the network talent.  And, demonstration areas – including a putting green, a sand trap and a tee box with an added two cuts of rough – will be used for a variety of purposes.

Wow, tiered rough has even made it to the Golf Channel studio.

“In addition to providing a contemporary and visually stunning set for our studio programming, this design utilizes technology to provide Golf Channel anchors, analysts and instructors with an advanced state-of-the-art tool set,” said Dan Overleese, GOLF CHANNEL vice president of operations.  “From swing breakdowns and statistical analysis to simulated reenactments and instruction, our studio shows will be visually more compelling and entertaining.”
 
New Simulator Makes Instruction, Shot Re-Creation Come to Life
          
Dominating the back studio wall and facing the tee box area is a 23 feet by 13 feet video screen.  In addition to showcasing logos and graphics, the screen also will function as the display for a high-tech golf simulator.

GOLF CHANNEL has partnered with Ohio-based aboutGolf, which has installed a highly customized PGA TOUR Simulator that will be utilized by GOLF CHANNEL analysts for real-to-life demonstrations – like shot re-creation – and for shows like The Golf Fix, the popular, high-energy instructional show hosted by Michael Breed.

Just, make him stop yelling. Please?

Monday
Dec142009

Diamonds In The Rough Podcast

I enjoyed talking to Jon Moore on this week's Diamonds in the Rough podcast. We open with a little Tiger talk and move on to the state of the game, course design, new v. old media and other fun stuff. Check it out.

Monday
Dec142009

The Anatomy Of A Corporate Divorce, Tag Heuer Edition

So I see Tag Heuer is spending the next few weeks "assessing" its deal with Tiger. My question to the one of thousands of corporate crisis counselors out there: is this first step designed to soften the blow when the inevitable Tag-Tiger divorce happens, or is it to generate two publicity cycles instead of just one in the clean break scenario?

Monday
Dec142009

Stevie: "He has never not committed himself to the media. He’s been great and he makes one mistake and they run all over the guy. I think he will be very cautious with the media when he comes back, and rightfully so."

Grumpy Stevie Williams can't stop talking to microphones about how awful the people pens and pads have been for reporting on his friends' "problem."

Brian Keough reports on the latest Stevie briefing with Sky Sports:

Williams said: “I feel deeply sorry for the guy. In the 10 years I have caddied for this guy, he has been thoroughly gracious with the media.  He has never not committed himself to the media. He’s been great and he makes one mistake and they run all over the guy. I think he will be very cautious with the media when he comes back, and rightfully so."

Branded an "enabler" by elements of the American media, Williams denied all knowledge of Woods' extra curricular activities.

He also unwittingly revealed Tiger's strategy from now on: Be seen to make an effort to patch things up with Elin and then get back out on tour.

Williams said: "When he gets back to the tour and people have seen that has made an honest attempt to get back with his family, I think that’s important, I think they will heal a lot people’s...or change a lot of people’s perspective of it. Tiger is human. We all make mistakes in life."

Monday
Dec142009

Phil Knight On Everything: "It’s part of the game."

Will this be the next great MBAism? Talking so SBJ about Tiger's scandal and endorsement deals:

You look at someone like Tiger Woods and this episode of infidelity. Does this change the concept of building brands around athletes?

Knight: Not for us. It’s part of the game.

With Tiger, a person who was believed to be of more upstanding character beforehand, is it possible to check for everything?

Knight: Obviously, he was one we checked out and he came out clean, and I think he’s been really great. When his career is over, you’ll look back on these indiscretions as a minor blip, but the media is making a big deal out of it right now.

Minor blip eh? There's hope for you the negotiations yet, Mark Steinberg.

How has the business really changed with the arrival of a new competitor like Under Armour?

Knight: That’s always been part of the game.

Sunday
Dec132009

Tiger Indefinite Leave Clippings, Vol. 3

Just another quiet weekend in Tigerland with Accenture dropping the golfing great and widespread reports of a child services visit to the Woods home. Most media coverage continued to focus on his Friday statement and the ensuing corporate response, along with (finally) some thoughts about long term ramifications for the PGA Tour.

Doug Ferguson talks to the "bewildered" golf world that's been reading its own press releases too long and is now faced with reality. Though Brad Faxon did offer this prediction along with an interesting insight from a former TV exec:

"I don't think Tiger is going to come back earlier because we need him to come back. He's going to come back when he fixes his problems," Brad Faxon said. "It's a bit of a worry, but like Greg (Norman) said the other night, nobody's bigger than the game. You could put, 'comma, except for Tiger' in a lot of situations. But we will survive this."

Former CBS Sports president Neal Pilson said the networks' loss in revenue will be much less severe than the drop in ratings. He said companies that advertise around golf are attracted by the demographics of the sport's core fans. Most of those fans watch golf whether Woods is involved or not. The casual fans who tune in only when Woods is in contention aren't the viewers these advertisers are targeting. "While you may have a 50 per cent increase in viewership, a lot of that 50 per cent is just bonus," he added.

Cameron Morfit makes a case that this isn't the end of the world for golf. In fact, it may just help.

Even Tiger's embarrassing missteps have helped, in their own sad, bizarre way.

Maybe they've helped most of all.

Separatists will insist the game is still different, better, cleaner, more like life itself, and so on. They will roll out calcified old chestnuts like, "Yes, but golf is the only sport where the players call penalties on themselves." Let's see: Roberto De Vicenzo signed an incorrect card, fans rolled a boulder out of Tiger's line, Ernie Els was gifted a ruling at the U.S. Open — nope, not one of golf's most memorable rulings involved a golfer calling a penalty on himself.

Golf is not different. Tennis players sometimes call their own service faults. And why pretend self-sacrifice is limited to the country club sports? The assist (basketball, soccer, etc.) and the pancake block (football) are made of the same stuff.

For that matter why pretend that anything is limited to golf, or excluded from it? We've got sex, drugs and the Olympics. We've got video games, tell-all memoirs and US Weekly. For better or worse golf is now part of every wonderful, fascinating and cringe-worthy facet of the human experience, and if that seems like a tough pill to swallow, hold your nose and try to remember: It's good for us.

In a front page LA Times story, Robin Abcarian asks: what did golf writers not know and when did they not know Tiger was a busy guy off the course? She talks to Golfweek's Jeff Babineau and AP's Doug Ferguson among others:

Even the access that Ferguson has had to Woods, he said, never amounted to much in the way of news. "I keep reading that the press had to be nice to him or they would lose the interview, which is funny, because what interview? There was nothing to lose there. I have built up a comfort zone with him, but most of it was clubhouse, locker room, meaningless BS stuff."

By arrangement with the PGA Tour, said Ferguson, Woods does not even enter the press room at a tournament unless he is a defending champion or close to the top of the leader board. "And it's nutty," said Ferguson. "The reason a lot of the press goes to tournaments is because Tiger is there." Even when Woods does agree to answer questions, said Ferguson, he generally doesn't offer much more than bland answers.

AP's Rachel Cohen looks at the television negotiation angle of Tiger's downfall:

During the last round of negotiations, NBC focused on securing rights to tournaments that Woods was likely to play, said former MAGNA research chief Steve Sternberg.

But even before a stream of sordid allegations led Woods to step away from the game, the networks had received a harsh reminder that the lofty ratings they receive when he's in contention aren't assured.
"The television business is about guaranteeing ratings to advertisers," said analyst Larry Gerbrandt, a principal of Media Valuation Partners.

The networks sell ads based on a promise of a certain rating. They can't afford to be frequently caught in the position of needing to make up for ratings that fall short, Gerbrandt said. Networks know how high ratings would be if Woods is in contention, but they can't base their rates on the assumption that he will be.

"You can't run a business that way," Gerbrandt said.

The networks must decide how much money they're willing to pay the PGA Tour based on how much money they believe they can make from advertisers.

"The negotiation to some extent is based on a worst-case scenario," Gerbrandt said.

Larry Dorman puts it more bluntly:

Although Woods is not solely responsible for the economic growth of the tour, he is given much of the credit for the quadrupling of prize money since he joined it — from $70 million in 1996 to $278 million in 2009. Most of the larger purses directly result from higher revenue from title sponsors, and the PGA Tour is in the midst of negotiating new deals with the sponsors of a dozen events that will expire by the end of 2010. Therefore, uncertainty about his availability will have a negative impact on the negotiations.

Also in the New York Times, Tim Arango considers Tiger's likely earnings potential down the road.

“Tiger is the best example of a walking, individual corporation,” said Ben Porritt, a public relations executive who advised Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees third baseman, last spring after his onetime steroid use was disclosed.

“Tiger is going to come out of this as somewhat of a bankrupt brand,” said Mr. Porritt. “He will have to restructure and go forward.” But, he said, “It’s going to be an ugly few months.”

Several companies that measure consumer reaction believe the ugliness has already started. Zeta Interactive, a digital ad agency that monitors message boards, blogs and social media posts, said that positive sentiment toward Mr. Woods had already plummeted. Before the accident, buzz about the golfer was 91 percent positive; by Friday, that figure had sunk to 43 percent.

The turnabout “is the quickest fall from positive to negative we’ve ever seen,” said Al DiGuido, chief executive at Zeta Interactive.

The great Marvin Collins reports that punters expect Tiger back soon.

Bookmakers William Hill, meanwhile, fully expect Woods to take part in the first major of the year, in early April, offering 4/6 he starts and 11/10 he does not. Indeed Hills do not think that his personal troubles will be transferred to his game, offering 5/2 that he wins his comeback tournament and 33/1 that he wins all four Majors in 2010.

Tiger is 1/6 to play in the Ryder Cup against Monty's European team and 7/1 to be the USA's top point scorer. "We expect Tiger back soon and the odds suggest that he is a certainty to play in the Ryder Cup as a solid performance could repair some of the damage for American golf fans" said Hill's spokesman Rupert Adams.

"However, we do not expect his absence to effect turnover as Tiger actually puts off many of our smaller stake golf punters and despite his absence we saw record turnover during the 2008 Open."

Jason Sobel and Bob Harig speculate on Tiger's return and how he'll be received. Harig:

We are unlikely to see a personality makeover, but perhaps a few changes are in order. And it won't be easy, because it's simply not Tiger to smile and wave to the crowd or engage well-wishers.

But he can hang to sign a few more autographs, look a few young fans in the eye, try a little harder. I am not suggesting we view him as a sympathetic figure these days, but it is hard to imagine the embarrassment he is enduring right now. And whether it is deserved is not the point here. He'll have a lot to overcome when he returns, and it's not just a rusty golf game.

It was Radar that first reported a Children Services visit to the Woods home on Friday to check on the kids, confirming once again that everyone on the planet but a state attorney in central Florida thinks something potentially criminal took place Thanksgiving night. 

Playgirl has passed on purported Tiger self portraits, deciding they'd be best left to the National Gallery. Love the back-patting quote from their rep Daniel Nardicio:

"This is a prime example of the direction Playgirl does not want to take," Nardicio said. "I prefer subjects who are willing."

Spurned lover Jamie Jungers keeps sharing embarrassing revelations, this time telling News of the World about Tiger's frugal ways (shock!) and an encounter the night Earl passed.

The Telegraph's Nick Allen has tracked down Tiger's first girlfriend living in God's Country and quite happy it all didn't work out.

And today's final word is from the Wall Street Journal's John Paul Newport:

Mr. Woods had established a foundation with a noble but non-controversial cause (helping under-advantaged children learn to bootstrap themselves to success). His approval and recognition ratings were consistently among the highest, if not the highest, in the world. And, above all, he was living a scandal-free life.

And so, without my quite realizing it, this vision of a future President Woods colored how I thought about him. I projected. I half-convinced myself, I guess, than in that private universe that Mr. Woods so adamantly roped off for himself, he and his wife sat around on their yacht, named Privacy, reading biographies of Abraham Lincoln.

Apparently not. But at least I wasn't the only fool to be fooled. If Mr. Woods wants us back, he has a lot of work to do.

Sunday
Dec132009

Gil Hanse, Architect Of The Year

Nice write-up by Joe Passov of on Golf Magazine naming Gil Hanse its Architect of the Year after the opening of Castle Stuart. The piece accompanies Golf's best new public courses of 2009.

Sunday
Dec132009

Golf Digest Best New...Last For A Couple Of Years?

Cal Club's 9th (click to enlarge)I finally got around to Golf Digest's Best New Courses feature and soaked it all in since it's hard to see this appearing in its current form the next couple of December's thanks to the complete stoppage of new course construction.

In the Best Remodel category, the only course I had seen was 3rd place finisher Cal Club, which lost out to Charlotte Country Club and Olympia Fields. While I'm sure those are both fine efforts from Ron Pritchard and Steve Smyers, I would have been disappointed if Cal Club won. Since it's the most remarkable transformation of a golf course I've seen, I would have had a tough time surviving knowing the Digest panel had seen the same thing. Had they, I might have started resorting to Ambien and we know how well that can work out.

Cal Club's 16th (click to enlarge)Pick a category--design, maintenance, environmental sensibility, aesthetics, maintenance meld--and Kyle Phillips' restoration with Mark Thawley, George Waters and Josh Smith is as fine a piece of work as you could want to see. Throw in the fact that it's artfully managed by fast-and-firm guru Thomas Bastis and team, and well, we just can't have the Golf Digest panel rewarding that!


Sunday
Dec132009

Accenture Drops Tiger Campaign After Six Years And Still No Discernible Idea What The Company Actually Does

But they were cool airport ads while they lasted...


However, given the circumstances of the last two weeks, after careful consideration and analysis, the company has determined that he is no longer the right representative for its advertising. Accenture said that it wishes only the best for Tiger Woods and his family.

Accenture will continue to leverage its “High Performance Business” strategy and “High Performance Delivered” positioning in the marketplace. The company will immediately transition to a new advertising campaign, with a major effort scheduled to launch later in 2010.

Guess this means we no longer have to say the Accenture WGC Match Play is a guranteed appearance on his schedule?

Sunday
Dec132009

More SNL On Tiger, Tim Finchem**

The opening sketch is brilliant...

Tim Finchem, Geoff Ogilvy among others were hauled into this Woods saga, with a nice Bernie Madoff connection too:

Wanda Sykes also opened her show with a great skit, but because Fox has some weird video player I refused to download. It'll be on YouTube soon, hopefully. If you want to risk downloading their suspicious player, the episode is here.

Saturday
Dec122009

Tiger Indefinite Leave Clippings, Vol. 2

It appears that Tiger's statement is having the desirable effect of shifting from speculating about what happened to what will happen. One downside? It seems the admission of infidelity has given his peers the green light to talk.

First though, AP's Tim Dahlberg files an extensive and important essay essentially recapping every key element to the last two weeks, and concluding that no one will ever look at Tiger the same way again. This, however, was not something I had seen anywhere else:

Even his own management company piled on.

Barry Frank, IMG's executive vice president for media sports programming, was on a panel about college sports media, where all the panelists were asked what sports business story they would be following closely in the next year.

"How many girls Tiger was with," Frank said.

Stevie Williams felt the need to once again speak out and let us know that his head is spinning, the media has been "made it very difficult" for his family, and that Rick Reilly really should just not ever get near him again.

"I had no knowledge of what Tiger's indiscretion was. And for Rick Reilly to turn around and say that I am a liar and there is no way I couldn't know – and that I should be fired – that is sensational journalism at its height right there.

While Bob Harig talked to several players expressing varying degrees of shock while playing the Shark Shootout, it was Monty's remarks Saturday that seemed to be the most pointed.

James Corrigan reports what Monty had to say about lost Woods aura:

Speaking the day after the world No 1 announced his self-enforced exile, Montgomerie talked of the boost his rivals will receive. "There was an aura, and that wall has been split slightly, so there are cracks and it gives us more opportunity of winning big events," said the Europe Ryder Cup captain. "He is suddenly – I hate to say – more normal. If that is normal! There is a mystique which has been lost and let's hope golf isn't damaged. It shouldn't be. Let's hope the tabloid press finish quickly but it will impact on every tournament Tiger plays next year."

Golf.com shared this from Annika Sorenstam:

"It's tragic. I think this whole thing is tragic. I am in touch with his wife Elin Nordegren now and then. Me and my husband Mike have been out dining with Elin and Tiger on a few occasions. Perhaps it won't happen as often now." - Former top-ranked women's golfer, Annika Sorenstam.

Hank Gola states that "suspending Woods is reasonable and it's right."

One can argue he will pay the price with a reputation beyond repair. Sorry, Tiger cannot be above the game if he has disgraced the game. Correctly or not, golf has always held itself on a higher moral plane as a sport ruled by principles of honor. Has any such publicity created a bigger stain on golf? And, if so, how can Finchem not try to eradicate it?

James Corrigan astutely analyzes the ramifications of Tiger's leave and among many fine observations, notes this about the PGA Tour's stance on Tiger: "In Tim Finchem's own rulebook it says Tour members will be banned for "conduct that brings unwelcome publicity". It's fair to say this publicity hasn't been welcome."

He also offers this about Team Tiger:

Is there any way they can all survive; from the guarded manager to the gruff caddie, to all the other support staff seemingly trained to satisfy his wishes? Jay Townsend, the former pro turned BBC pundit suspects not. "It comes down to his wife Elin," he said yesterday. "I think she's running the show right now and I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of people disappear from his inner circle. They had to know about what was going on. In her mind they have to be part of what happened."

Mark Reason makes an interesting suggestion about Tiger's best spot for a return:

His return to competitive golf will depend greatly on his wife Elin's attitude. The Masters in April would make some sense simply because Augusta restricts entry to individual media who have a history of covering the tournament.

Bill Elliott on Tiger's statement:

This plaintive, if delayed, short burst of humanity from Woods is as touching, in its way, as his earlier prolonged and arrogant refusal to confront the demons gathering daily on his doorstep was disappointingly typical of a man who always has taken the view that he knows best. It is not in itself enough to restore much of Woods's old aura but it is a first step towards some kind of refurbishment of an almost totally shattered image.

What seems likely is that while his image is forever tarnished, his ability to block out the world and retreat inside his head to play the highest-octane golf available is now vitally damaged as well.

Tom English writes in the Scotsman about the indefinite leave:

There was no choice for Woods. He's staying in hiding for family reasons, sure. But you'd have to be naive to think that it was purely an attempt to salvage his marriage that drove his decision of Friday. With all of this lunacy swirling around his head, how could he come back in the medium-term and face public scrutiny? One sighting of him would have caused a media stampede.

Tim Finchem will send a Christmas gift to ESPN.com's Jemele Hill for what is a very astute case for Tiger getting back to playing ASAP:

Since your life erupted in scandal over Thanksgiving weekend, you've made a series of mistakes and miscalculations as you've tried to recover from this continuous assault on your character and family. But announcing Friday that you'll take an indefinite leave of absence from golf is, by far, your worst idea yet.

An indefinite leave of absence doesn't solve anything. It just shows the tabloids and these alleged mistresses that they've won and you're afraid of them.

Mistresses and tabloids: 1-under.

Tiger: 5-over.

Golf isn't the problem. But it could be the answer. Certainly a lot of people are fascinated and disappointed by your train wreck of a personal life, but most people want to see you back on the golf course, competing in -- and winning -- tournaments.

If you play, and especially if you win, it will remind people why they were drawn to you in the first place. It wasn't your wooden acting in those Gillette commercials that made you must-see TV; it was chasing down Jack Nicklaus' record and winning the Masters at 21.

Jason Sobel on the decision to disappear for a while:

This latest decision to take an indefinite leave from golf will only increase the scrutiny when he does return. The first public interview, the first golf shot, the first major championship -- each will be viewed under a microscope that even the most popular golfer has never seen, the eyes of the world fixated on his every word and movement. Until then, he will retreat further into privacy in an attempt to produce what he called a "safe haven we will need for personal healing."

A Murray Deaker interview is about to air in New Zealand where Tiger talks up his devotion to family values.

The veteran broadcaster secured the one-on-one interview, recorded in Melbourne prior to Woods's philandering being exposed, through the golfer's Kiwi caddie Steve Williams.

The exclusive for Sky TV was to be aired on Christmas Day. However, the network had a change of heart last week because, according to their promotional blurb, the "story just won't wait". It will now be screened on Tuesday.

In a 30-second promo on the Sky TV website, Deaker asks Woods: "Family first and golf second. Always be like that?" "Always," is the golfer's reply.

Jay Busbee delves into 2010 and beyond, contemplating how Tiger's decision impacts everyone from Phil Mickelson to the tabloids, offering this summation of the coverage:

The tabloids: For all the criticism that the mainstream media and the American populace heaped on the tabloids, the fact remains that TMZ, RadarOnline, the National Enquirer and others were well ahead of everyone else in the Woods story. Sure, there were some major missteps, and yes, the air of celebrity frenzy they generated left everyone wanting a shower, but this entire scandal should bury once and for all the idea that tabloids are simply creating news out of the air.

As for Elin Woods, several outlets confirmed her long-in-the-works purchase of a six-bedroom home on a small island near Stockholm.

James Desborough & Carole Aye Maung report for News of the World that Elin has been talking to divorce attorneys and will move to Sweden after the new year.

And not much of a surprise here, but Radar reports there is friction in Camp Woods and no real clear idea how to handle the crisis management. No kidding.

Saturday
Dec122009

“As Tiger takes a break from the public eye, we will support his desire for privacy by limiting his role in our marketing programs"

Whoever said corporations aren't thoughtful and considerate? That's Gillette dropping Tiger.

Friday
Dec112009

Tiger's Indefinite Leave Clippings, Vol. 1

Before we get to the initial reactions to his take-out-the-trash-day statement, I must say that the admission of infidelity and Tiger Woods' decision to take an indefinite leave provided the most striking example of the tabloids being out in front of so many elements to this story. This ought to give us a three or four day reprieve from the hand-wringing "Tweets" of golf writers preaching to their limited followings about the sheer outrage of bloggers citing tabloids as legitimate news sources and daring to cover this tawdry, ugly, nasty...GOLF story.

Just to refresh, a Sun story I decided not to link yesterday because of its preposterousness nature turned out to be accurate: Tiger is leaving the game to save his marriage. And while they're hot and probably not exactly going out on a limb, The Sun also says Elin Woods has ordered her husband to put their homes up for sale after the New Year. While the Daily Mail showed photographs of Tiger's yacht Privacy in obvious preparation for a voyage.

Now for the reactions to Tiger's statement. Bob Harig at ESPN.com puts the sheer absurdity of the last two weeks into perspective:

Who would have ever dreamed Finchem and the PGA Tour would be in favor of Tiger skipping tournaments?

And yet, that is what this Tiger tale has come to, the game's best player benching himself for his own good.

Steve Elling has been tough on Tiger but he likes the move he's made with this statement:

It was the smartest thing he has done in weeks -- and anybody associated with the game should be saying a silent prayer of thanks.

Simply put, Woods had dragged the tour and its players into the mud with him. The splatter and collateral damage had not yet been tallied, but it was palpable. Players were angry, like everybody else. Not that they had been misled or betrayed, a sentiment conveyed by many Woods fans, but because they had done nothing wrong and were being painted with the same broad brush.

That game of honor and integrity had been besmirched like at no other time in its 500-year history. It was a stain that no amount of Clorox could remove.

"He screwed all of us," a prominent player said earlier this week.

Randell Mell at TheGolfChannel.com hopes this is the turning-point the story needs:

Maybe we’re finally nearing the bottom of this awful story, but there’s no guarantee with media outlets continuing to dig. The appetite for the scandal is staggering. The depth of the allegations is equally staggering.

The story still needs a bottom, and here’s hoping Woods moved us closer to it with his statement. Here’s hoping he’s on his way to turning this story around and leading us all out of this mess.

Ron Sirak noted the Friday timing in his lede:

One of the things learned after decades working as a journalist is that when news is announced on a Friday evening, it's never good. The announcement made on Tiger Woods' website that he is taking an indefinite break from professional golf falls into that category. The statement sent shudders through all who care about the game, in large part because it is such an open-ended proclamation.

I wonder if Alistair Tait's reaction to the statement will be the first of some tough-love pieces from what has been a shockingly quiet golf media to this point:

We were sold a myth. Instead all we got was a well-worn cliché: Another brilliant sportsperson whose real life doesn’t even come close to resembling the myth.

We all bought it. Swallowed it whole and were hungry for more. We even helped perpetuate it. We took pride that our hero was a cut or three above other sporting heroes. We were willing to forgive the F-bombs, the occasional sulkiness and the club throwing as part of the pressure that came with being the best.

We scoffed at other sports, where scandal and salaciousness seem to come as part of the package. Our sport was above that. The honorable game.

What saps we are.

Doug Ferguson managed to get an email reaction out of Tiger agent Mark Steinberg. You have to wonder if the timing of the indefinite leave announcement along with the suddenly humble sounding agent suggests he is working with a bunch of companies on the verge of jumping ship:

“The entirety of someone’s life is more important than just a professional career,” Steinberg said in an e-mail to the AP. “What matters most is a young family that is trying to cope with difficult life issues in a secluded and caring way. Whenever Tiger may return to the game should be on the family’s terms alone.”

And..

Steinberg said it would be “premature and inappropriate” to talk about Woods’ specific business relationships.

“Suffice it to say, we have had thoughtful conversations and his sponsors have been open to a solution-oriented dialogue,” Steinberg said. “Of course, each sponsor has unique considerations and ultimately the decisions they make we would fully understand and accept."

Radaronline reports that AT&T is reconsidering its relationship with Tiger, at least according to their unnamed source: an AT&T spokesperson.

"We support Tiger's decision and our thoughts will be with him and his family,” the statement read. “We are presently evaluating our ongoing relationship with him."

Earlier in the day, Stephanie Wei did a nice job piecing together circumstantial evidence to suggest deteriorating relations between Tiger and sponsors, including the disappearance of Tiger's image at Accenture's site and suggestions by this FoxNews.com story that there were intensive meetings taking place Friday.

A cynic might suggest the meetings, the campaigns magically meeting the end of their life cycles and the Woods statement are all linked. But of course, I'm no cynic.

Prior to the statement, ESPN.com's Bill Simmons suggested that the Woods accident and scandal is the biggest story of the decade.

Sixth, it doesn't show any signs of slowing down; if anything, it's gaining steam like a hurricane plowing toward Florida. Seventh, it involves three of the gotta-have-it basics in any gigantic story: sex, (possible) violence, and a (possible) cover-up. Eighth, there's an unanswerable question looming over everything: Even if Tiger did cheat on his wife, should it matter to anyone other than them? (My answer: It shouldn't. But that's the rub of being a public figure. If you don't want to be a public figure, don't do commercials, don't cover yourself in Nike logos and don't sell a video game with your name on it.) And ninth, it's a conspiracy-friendly saga that lends itself to all kinds of inventive angles, an absolute must for any story to maintain dominance.

If you ever want to see a sign of how shallow and introverted the golf community can be, check out Ben Crane's agent's remarks to Steve Elling about the Life and Style tabloid report that incorrectly quoted his client yesterday. He says that if that story got it so wrong, the other tabloid stories must be wrong too. I think Tiger kind of killed that theory with today's statement.

Oh and I loved this from Crane agent Tommy Limbaugh...as if bloggers control the world:

“Once something is out there, how do you pull it back when it’s wrong?” Limbaugh said. “When the bloggers get hold of it, how do you fix it?”

And finally, not to take away from the gravity of Tiger's statement, but there was this other little item in the ongoing mainstream media feuding over sourcing of stories. From golf.com:

The Associated Press has never cited TMZ.com or Radaronline.com as sources in its news stories on Tiger Woods, as was stated in this week's PGA Tour Confidential.

Friday
Dec112009

Tiger To "Indefinite Leave" From Professional Golf**

A statement posted on his website Friday afternoon, December 12th:

I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children. I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I've done, but I want to do my best to try.

I would like to ask everyone, including my fans, the good people at my foundation, business partners, the PGA Tour, and my fellow competitors, for their understanding. What's most important now is that my family has the time, privacy, and safe haven we will need for personal healing.

After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person.

Again, I ask for privacy for my family and I am especially grateful for all those who have offered compassion and concern during this difficult period.

Friday
Dec112009

Tiger And Golf After The Accident: Vol. 3, What Happens Long Term?

Sorry to get all focus-testy again, but...

Does he come back the same player, better or worse?

Friday
Dec112009

Tiger Wins Injunction To Prevent Publication Of Photos That Don't Exist

Reuters reports.

Friday
Dec112009

Latest Late Night Material On Tiger's Accident

Jimmy Kimmel is selling Tiger Woods commemorative plates in conjunction with the good people at the Franklin Mint:

Letterman's top 10 Tiger text messages:

George Lopez's latest monologue, with Tiger material 3 minutes in:




Thursday
Dec102009

Tiger Accident Clippings, Vol. 13

While the golf world may be tired of the Tiger saga, it appears the tabloids are not letting go. Perhaps emboldened by Tiger's lecture on privacy, they are moving full steam ahead on several stories. More on that in a moment.

On a positive front for Tiger, several people came forward in his defense. Unfortunately the list included John Daly and Donald Trump. OJ wasn't available apparently. Still recovering from his prison beating.

Mike Walker relays the highlights from The Donald's television interview:

"He's had a very interesting and very traumatic couple of weeks," Trump told TV's Extra. "But I know Tiger and he's a wonderful guy. Tiger is going to be hotter than ever. Mark my words."

Winning will also cure any problems Woods might have with his endorsements, Trump added.

"It may affect his endorsements a little but, but it's like Kobe [Bryant]," Trump said. "No one remembers the Kobe incident anymore. He went out and won a championship."

Randell Mell reports on Greg Norman's Golf Channel interview:

“I hope Tiger sorts these issues out,” Norman said. “Things like that should stay behind closed doors, but then again we are public figures. There are times when people feel like they can reach through the TV screen and say `I own you, I know you because I buy a product you represent.’ That’s a part of it. You have to accept that responsibility.”

Jack Nicklaus was cornered today and offered a "none of my business" to AP, while Reuters quoted him this way:

"He'll figure it out. We've always been a forgiving society," Nicklaus said at Palm Beach Gardens in Florida where he was honouring the boys' golf team that won the state championship.

John Daly wanted to let us know Tiger has made a lot of golfers rich and therefore they should support him in this time of...whatever this time is.

Daly said: "I wish them [the Woods family] the best. I'm not too happy with what some players have said.

"Golf needs him. Because of Tiger is why we're playing for so much money."

Tabloid critics can rejoice after the most glaring fiction yet published was quickly debunked by a skeptical golf media that knew neither Ben Crane and especially Charles Warren were capable of saying something interesting.  

Christine Brennan summed up the saga this way:

We are in the midst of something so jaw-dropping and out of the ordinary that were we to use a term to describe it from a now-suddenly distant, quickly fading past, we might call it Tigeresque.

What Tiger Woods has caused to happen to himself and his image over the past two weeks is the sports world's most remarkable fall from grace, ever. No athlete has ever held a perch so high in our culture — right up there with President and Mrs. Obama, and Oprah — and fallen so far so fast.

Of everything I read, Jason Whitlock wins a special citation for the most awful mess of a column I've read on the Woods saga. Though anyone who blames Orange County for something does deserve some respect:

As far as I know, Tiger grew up on golf courses in suburban Orange County, raised by an African-American, Chinese and Native American father and Thai, Chinese and Dutch mother. That is not the recipe for falling in love with sistas regardless of Tiger's brown skin and full lips.

By profession and diction, the dude would be considered a nerd by most brothers and sisters. Take away his billion dollars and many of the sisters whining that Tiger prefers blondes would continue their search for a tatted-up, corn-rowed, slang-talking real brother.

(If that description doesn't fit you, then don't complain. Destiny's Child sang and sold "Soldier" because somebody was feeling it.)

Tiger's choice in women isn't a statement about how he feels about us (black folks). It's a statement about where and how he grew up.

Jordan Robertson of AP reports on huge website traffic surges since the accident, including a seven-fold jump at golf.com.

An item on the Daily Record blog has this interesting quote about Tiger's endorsement future.

I talked to Baltimore ad firm TBC’s Howe Burch this week about the potential sponsor fallout from Tigergate and he says this is only the beginning. Burch takes issue with those who say Woods’ transgressions have made him seem more human.

“I find that to be a misguided perspective on the whole thing,” said Burch, a former marketing executive with Fila and Reebok. “Tiger was affiliated with big blue chip brands and any brand that is successful is built on a foundation of trust…Tiger has violated their trust. They did not sign up for someone who is duplicitous.”

Toby Tobin suggests that Tiger's already troubled Cliffs project will not be helped by this saga, particularly with a schmaltzy promotional video where Tiger talks about his family life.

The new National Enquirer leads with a cover story that is sure to get plenty of attention, with suggestions of a love child and sex tape.

According to Radar, Gloria's back! The L.A. lawyer is representing "a number of women" on the Tiger front including an apparent woman number thirteen.

TMZ reveals a new document from Tiger's lawyers in Britain filing a motion to stop the publication of revealing photos and videos that they say do not exist.

Tiger Woods' lawyers sent a letter to multiple UK papers and blogs, stating the court order "prevents the publication of private and confidential information contained in the Order.... this Order is not to be taken as any admission that any such photographs exist, and in the event they do exist they may have been fabricated, altered, manipulated and/or changed to create the false appearance and impression that they are nude photographs of our client."

The court order also covers any possible videos. It blocks the publication of "any photographs, footage or images taken or obtained of the claimant [Tiger] naked or any naked parts of the claimant's [Tiger's] body or of him involved in any sexual activity."

The lawyer's letter says, "Our client is not aware of any images and in any event he would not have consented to any such photographs being taken nor would he have consented to the dissemination or exploitation of the same."

Radar says Mistress #4 is going on the Today Show Friday and also appearing in a special Dateline Friday night titled "The Secret Life of Tiger Woods."

On the comedy front, George Lopez only devoted half of his monologue to Tiger on Wednesday night.



Letterman features the latest EA Sports Tiger Woods game:

And finally, Jimmy Kimmel reveals Tiger's new reality show:



Thursday
Dec102009

Tiger And Golf After The Accident: Vol. 2, What Happens In 2010

This is a simple one.

Where does he start his 2010 golf?

How many starts does Tiger make?

How many starts outside the U.S. does Tiger make?

How many wins?

The majors?

Thursday
Dec102009

“She really believes in the importance of parents staying together.”

Soraya Roberts of the New York Daily News says People magazine will report in Friday's edition that Elin Woods is not going to divorce Tiger.

I understand that it's not our business what they end up doing, but the primary behind-the-scenes scuttlebutt centers around what a marriage salvation scenario means for Tiger's professional support team. Since some were either enablers or turning a blind eye to his antics, it's been suggested Tiger will not be able to save his marriage while continuing on with certain key people in his life.

However, at the moment I'm wondering what impact this might have on Tiger's run at history. He has assembled a team that, like it or not, was very good at structuring his professional career to allow him to concentrate on golf when he was inside the ropes while also laying the groundwork for unparalleled success in the sports marketing world and in charitable endeavors. (On the golf course design side, not so much).

I know a lot of readers here work in the corporate world and I'm curious how you would advise Woods in finding a balance between personal and professional considerations, and how he should go about evaluating the roles of his team members going forward?