I really disliked the Butler Cabin ceremony at Augusta. I always felt that the best thing to do would be to go right to the public presentation of the green jacket, with emotions still at a fever pitch and all the people and a national TV audience there to see it. To go inside the flower-infested catacombs of the Butler Cabin and watch the club chairmen perform the ceremony they were helpless — really let the air out of the balloon. One year Hord Hardin asked Bernhard Langer how he pronounced his name. Another year he asked Seve how tall he was. I would watch this with my face in my hands, but the club wouldn't have it any other way. Oh, well. FRANK CHIRKINIAN
The Orlando Sentinel continues to examine new public records in the Tiger Woods accident investigation, with several more revelations that speak to an investigation not bungled, but obstructed. Rene Stutzman reports that Elin Woods "tried to ride in the ambulance to the hospital with her husband, but the crew wouldn't let her, saying this was a case of domestic violence, the Florida Highway Patrol records show."
But the behavior of HealthCentral and state attorney Steve Foster raises the most-troubling questions:
Today's FHP records also reveal that the afternoon of the crash, FHP troopers tried to get medical records from the hospital, HealthCentral in Ocoee, that would have shown whether Woods had been drinking or was under the influence of drugs.
An emergency room nurse, however, said the records department was closed and troopers would have to come back the following Monday.
Troopers did, arriving about 7 a.m. Nov. 30, the first business day after the crash.
"The director of medical records at first stated their computer system was not working then she stated that they would not provide that information without a warrant on D-1 (Tiger Woods) regarding whether or not medical blood had been drawn," wrote FHP Cpl. Thomas DeWitt.
Two FHP captains then went to the Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office and asked it to subpoena Woods' medical records, but Assistant State Attorney Steve Foster said there was insufficient evidence.
The following day FHP declared its investigation over and wrote Woods the ticket.
The home security system video stuff is borderline comical. You leave it up to a defense attorney to check the tapes? And amazingly, he just couldn't get it to work!
Woods' home has four security cameras, and his lawyer, Mark NeJame, told troopers that he would provide them with video from the system, but after having problems trying to decipher it, apparently never did.
The day FHP made the request, NeJame said he tried but could not figure out how to operate the system. Five hours later, a woman from his office called troopers, saying they still couldn't figure it out but would call the next day.
The FHP paperwork makes no further mention of the video.
According to DeWitt, the trooper who wrote the report, two of the cameras should have captured at least portions of Woods' drive and crash.
The PGA Tour convened a teleconference to announce the Fall Finish's new McGladrey Classic and asked Davis Love and Zach Johnson to join the Commish along with the CEO of the charmingly named RSM McGladrey. The highlights:
Tim Finchem:I think in terms of this new $4 million purse event, I'll just briefly say that we are very excited about it. We've been working on this concept for about, I don't know, a year and a half. It brings together obviously a quality title sponsor in RSM McGladrey led by a management team that really understands how to get value out of the business-to-business platform that's being generated here.
Haven't even hosted the event and they already get b-to-b platform generation? These guys are good.
By the way it doesn't need to be said again, but there's just a lot of value being created out of this partnership.
We're excited to work with McGladrey and really excited to work even closer with Zach, our newest neighbor. He lives about four or five houses down from Mark, so Mark can go down and get advice from him any time. I think Zach wants to make a few comments, and I'm hopefully going to go snowboarding here pretty soon. I'm in the middle of nowhere in Canada. I apologize for the snowmobile that just went by a few minutes ago.
There's something you don't read every day in a transcript.
Now, questions from the Communist subversives.
Q. Commissioner, I have to break off the road here and ask, there's obviously a loophole in the new grooves restrictions. Is taking advantage of that loophole an insult to the honor of golf? Is something going to have to be changed on that?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: By loophole, you're referring to the Ping i2 pre-1990 golf club?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: It is a bit of a loophole, but last year we looked carefully at this, and our experts did not view this distinction of any significance. So rather than part ways with the USGA in terms of what they would have to do at the U.S. Open, at that time we elected to stay the course. We just the other day reviewed the data again. We just don't see any competitive advantage, any material competitive advantage to a player by going back and getting a club that was made pre-1990.
But we'll continue to evaluate it. But at this point in time, no, we don't see any erosion of competitive balance because of that particular situation.
Okay, that puts that to rest.
Q. There's a suggestion that is being advocated by people in America, by sponsors and people associated with sponsors that perhaps the PGA TOUR should, and I'm quoting here, temporarily do away with conflicting event releases that grant permission to TOUR members to play overseas, and with some of your TOUR members playing in Abu Dhabi this week, I'm wondering whether you think that suggestion is likely to fly.
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Well, I'm not much aware of a groundswell on that issue.
That's because you're not in La Quinta this week.
The conflicting event releases we feel we've had in place now for 15, 20 years seem to be fine. You have the odd occasion where it raises a question, but on balance, we do not have a very significant of players at all seeking conflicting event releases.
It's something we look at all the time. We look at it annually. We evaluate when we get a good number in any particular week. But at this time I don't see any change to the guidelines, but it's something we'll continue to keep under consideration.
Translation: it's somewhere on Tim's whiteboard to-do list between return Doug Barron's call and buy the new George Lopez live CD.
So that's the real world. We just had Tiger out for eight months in '08, and we had our all-time record charity year at $125 million. Everybody just needs to keep it in balance. We want our No. 1 player back. I think he's going to be huge when he comes back. But he's doing the right thing right now in dealing with his issues as he said he wanted to.
A lot of people read those words and thought Finchem meant he is praising Tiger for entering sex rehab. I'm not quite so sure.
And for today's MBAisms:
C.E. ANDREWS: Let me just comment, from our standpoint, this is all part of a much bigger -- it's a component of our overall marketing and branding direction in what we do, and we've been doing it for some time, and this is an evolution of that. I think for us, as Tim said, our research tells us that our clients, the sea-suite-type clients and prospects, that this is the best venue -- golf is the best sport for us to align with, and not just best sport, but if you really want to reach that audience, more of them participate in this in some fashion, either playing, watching, whatever, than any other sport or any other activity that we could find. So it matches up so well with the audiences that we're trying to reach, first of all.
I'm guessing that's C-suite-type clients. Though sea-suite has a nice ring to it too. But isn't it redundant to say a C-lister has a suite? I mean, isn't that a given? Or are there C-levelers and then C-suite-levelers?
Secondly, we have -- this is one component of a much bigger package of things as we mentioned. Of course Zach is a member of our Team McGladrey. We have three excellent golfers that we sponsor, and they're great ambassadors for us, so that works for us year-round.
We like the package of this particular tournament. We're going to be able to include throughout the year things that we'll do in our offices around the country, at other TPC courses and things. We'll build enthusiasm and client and prospect interaction.
That scribbling sound you heard in the background was the Commish writing down "client and prospect interaction."