Tag:tiger woods scandal
Posted on: October 14, 2010 11:43 am

McDowell: Tiger scandal my key 2010 catalyst

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Network ratings, tournament ticket sales, merchandise revenue and even rounds played were down in 2010 according to various reports. Much of it was pinned on the seemingly endless Tiger Woods sex scandal, a big turnoff to millions.

Yet not everybody was negatively affected by the biggest public-relations hit in golf history. In fact, one increasingly prominent player used a bit of backdoor kismet resulting from Woods' travails to carve a massive place for himself at the table with the game's biggest stars.

Graeme McDowell, the U.S. Open champion and the hero of the European win two weeks ago at the Ryder Cup, might not have accomplished either if not for Woods' massive personal issues. He related the amazing connect-the-dots story of how receiving a last-minute invitation to replace the host of the Tiger Woods Chevron World Challenge tournament in Southern California last December changed his whole 2010 trajectory. Woods withdrew rather than face the media scrutiny as the scandal was unfolding.

Rest assured, I am not at all a fan of giving world ranking points to boutique mini-tournaments like the Chevron event, the World Match Play or Sun City cash grabs, but in this case, it worked out perfectly for McDowell, who finished second to Jim Furyk in the Chevron last fall.

How many doors did that open? Let him tell the tale. Here is McDowell, in his own words, explaining to the Belfast Telegraph how that particular last-ditch invitation changed his entire year:

“What happened at the end of last season, and getting the invite to the Tiger Woods golf tournament, was the real catalyst for everything that has happened for me this year. I walked off the golf course in China, with Rory [McIlroy] and myself just having lost the World Cup by a shot to the Molinari boys.

“My manager, Conor Ridge, suggested there was a shadow of a chance, what with the Tiger Woods story unfolding that week, that I might get an invite into the Chevron World Challenge.

“As it so happened, I was flying home from China to Orlando through L.A. that week, so I said of course I would get off the flight there and take my chance. I don’t how Conor managed to do it, but we got the nod on the invite and then I go and finish second.

“I moved from 55th to 38th in the world, it got me into Augusta and smoothed up the start of the season. Then after Wentworth, I get into the U.S. Open right on the bubble at world No. 50.

“So if I had not been top 50 at the end of last year, I maybe would not have got off to the start I had this year. Maybe I wouldn’t have got myself into the U.S. Open and things like the Ryder Cup.

“It was just one of those very fateful moments.”

Yep, sort of the reverse of driving over a fire hydrant and into a tree.

Posted on: March 11, 2010 7:45 pm

Report: Tiger's playing plan is Masterful

DORAL, Fla. – The where-and-when part continues to evolve.

Daily, if not hourly.

An Associated Press report on Thursday cited two unnamed sources in the Tiger Woods camp who claimed the exiled world No. 1 will make his competitive return at the Masters, which begins April 8.

True enough, with Woods practicing at home for the past 10 days, all signs pointed toward an earlier return, perhaps in two weeks at Arnold Palmer’s tournament in Orlando, where Woods has won six times. In fact, it’s the only regular PGA Tour event that he has never missed in his 13-year career.

Augusta National officials indicated Thursday that they had not heard anything definitive from Woods. Messages left with Woods’ spokesman, Palmer Invitational and Tavistock Cup tournament officials were not immediately returned.

Don’t hold your breath for confirmation of his commitment – the Masters doesn’t have a Friday deadline like the PGA Tour. He can essentially just show up and play during tournament week.

All this week at the CA Championship outside Miami, with his comeback set for sometime soon, players have been peppered with queries about the reception Woods will receive when he returns from the most damaging scandal in modern sports history. In theory, the blowback will be lessened at Augusta National, which uses a legion of private security and can claim many longtime, respectful attendees among its ticketholders.

“I think we all look forward to seeing him back,” Jim Furyk said shortly before the latest Woods report surfaced. “I think we’re probably more than anything looking forward to getting business back as usual, which is not going to be the case for awhile.

“No one is looking forward to that first week because it’s chaos and it’s going to be chaos.”

There are multiple layers to the feelings among the players, to be sure. Several are saying the right things publicly, but seething about what Woods did to the reputation of the game and the tour – and because he has forced them to field questions about his behavior because he’s been in hiding for three months.

One Florida-based player, when asked last week about whether he had seen Woods working on his game and prepping for a comeback, said: “You want my honest answer? I could give a f---.”

Plenty of others feel similarly, but many nonetheless believe the damage to his reputation won’t manifest itself in such a coarse fashion on the course.

“I think he’s going to be more popular than ever,” Robert Allenby said. “Everybody will want to see him play, at least for the next couple of months. He’s been in the news more than anybody not in Iraq.”

If there’s a general sentiment among players, fans and everybody who has been following the ridiculously sordid ebb and flow of the case, it’s that they want Woods to start cleaning up the toxic mess he created.

The messy asides, accusations and snide remarks at his expense never seem to end, do they? So as news circulated that Howard Stern’s website blew up Wednesday because millions were following the schock jock’s R-rated beauty pageant for some of Woods’ alleged former mistresses online, the best way Woods can begin rebuilding his rep is by playing golf.

“All of us would like to see him playing because he’s the best player in the world,” Furyk said Thursday afternoon. “The fans would like to see him playing. He’ll do it on his time when he deems it ready.

“No one is looking forward to the first few weeks. I don’t even think the media is looking forward to the first few weeks. [But] everyone wants to get back to business as usual.”

Category: Golf
Posted on: March 11, 2010 11:15 am
Edited on: March 11, 2010 1:18 pm

Report: Woods hires Bush aide to clean up image

DORAL, Fla. -- According to a New York newspaper report, Tiger Woods has summoned a one-time aide to George W. Bush and an adviser to disgraced big-league slugger Mark McGwire, two guys fairly familiar with trying to salvage their reputations despite a rising tide of public opinion to the contrary.

Ari Fleischer, former strategy adviser to the younger Bush, has been meeting with the Woods camp in Orlando for the past few days and trying to conjure up a comeback strategy, to be set in motion perhaps within the next two weeks. As CBSSports.com first reported two weeks ago, Woods has been on the course almost daily working on his game, lately with swing coach Hank Haney.

Speculation continues to mount that Woods will play March 22-23 in the Tavistock Cup and make his official PGA Tour debut on March 25 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which he has won six times. Both events are played within five miles of his home.

The New York Post , in its Thursday edition, cited a souce claiming that Fleisher, who established a public-relations firm with IMG ties, has been called in to help Woods navigate the mess he created with a three-months-long sex scandal that has caused his approval ratings to plummet.

Sort of like what happened with Bush during his largely unpopular second term and McGwire when his use of steroids became public.

“They were in his living room this week going over a strategy for how to handle Bay Hill in two weeks,” one source told The Post.

One question screams for clarity: If Fleischer runs a firm specializing in public-relations crisis reponse that has direct ties to IMG, which has represented Woods for more than 13 years, what took so long for Woods' handlers to make the phone call and ask for advice?

At this point, it seems a little late to be spinning the story to make it more palatable.

Read more at the New York Post.

Posted on: December 11, 2009 1:29 pm

Agent: This report is wrong, so what about rest?

The torrent of bad news has been unrelenting, with steamy, saucy developments revealed almost daily as the tabloids and celebrity websites chase secret sources, cops leaking documents or folks who knew a dude who once met a chick who served Tiger Woods a glass of orange juice at a Florida pancake house.

Based on sheer volume, it looks darned incriminating. Woods even admitted, however vaguely, to committing indiscretions.

But Thursday, there was a development that should give us pause. To those sitting in the jury box at the court of public opinion, be aware that a news report was posted on a tabloid magazine website that was flatly denied and appears to have been just plain wrong.

“This makes me question the credibility of the other [Tiger] stories, too,” said Tommy Limbaugh, a longtime agent for several PGA Tour players.

The tabloid Life & Style on Thursday posted a story that included scathing comments attributed to one of Limbaugh’s clients, Ben Crane. He was quoted as saying, verbatim: “This is no surprise to anyone who knows Tiger. He's a phony and a fake and he can't retain that squeaky-clean endorsement deal any longer."

Limbaugh said he called the magazine and was told that the interview with Crane was conducted last week at PGA Tour Qualifying School finals. One problem – Crane is fully exempt for 2010 and never set foot in West Palm Beach, Fla., where the finals were staged. Charles Warren, another tour veteran who played at the finals and was quoted in the story, likewise denied speaking with the reporter and said he hadn’t been interviewed by anybody in months.

“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?”

Limbaugh said the sequence of events has made him rethink the whole Woods feeding frenzy. With Woods remaining mum and refusing to confirm or deny any of the reports, either from tabloids, gossip websites or more traditional news outlets, the easy temptation is to believe almost all of it.

“After what we have been through, I can’t believe all those other stories are true,” Limbaugh said. “I can’t imagine what the Tiger camp is going through. This was one instance [where facts are in dispute]. They are dealing with a runaway train. It has taken on a life of its own.”

When it’s a hot topic, stuff can go viral in a heartbeat.

“I see the bloggers winning and Tiger losing,” Limbaugh said. “There’s just so much stuff out there that hasn’t been confirmed by anybody.”

Posted on: December 6, 2009 12:25 pm

Is Tiger your 'Player' of the year?

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Tiger Woods debacle shows no signs of reaching the bottom of the barrel anytime soon, and a potentially awkward moment for his primary place of business is only a few days away.

On Dec. 18, the PGA Tour is set to announce its 2009 Player of the Year.

We all know who it is. A guy who has certainly proven that the word "player" has many connotations. He won six times on the U.S. tour this year, or roughly once for every reported extra-marital affair. But most of us have lost track of that second total, frankly.

If you call the shots at the tour, should you stick to that announcement schedule or push it back, say, a thousand years? By then, the cocktail waitresses, coffee-shop servers, reality-TV wannabes and vultures might have stopped circling. Maybe. 

Previously, Woods had usually accepted the award at the Chevron World Challenge, which is taking place without him this week in suburban Los Angeles, having been moved up two weeks on the tournament calendar. But the player ballots haven't all been tallied yet.

At least this time, the tour can send out a press release at 5 a.m. on a Friday night and hope nobody makes too many jokes about it.

Speaking of which, the NBC broadcast of the Chevron event -- which benefits Woods' charity -- has had some head-scratching moments of organizational paralysis, too. 

Despite more than a week of scathing, unseemly and seemingly endless reports casting Woods' character into doubt, a joint promo from Chevron and the Tiger Woods Foundation nonetheless aired during the Saturday broadcast noting that the latter helps enrich kids with "education and character-development programs."

Leno or Letterman will turn that incredible faux pas into a punch-line, probably, But at this point, it just makes me sad. Everything associated with Woods has been besmirched, no matter how noble the original intent.
Category: Golf
Posted on: December 2, 2009 4:52 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2009 5:25 pm

Church of Tiger Woods burns to ground

ORLANDO, Fla. – As if we need any exit polls or additional evidence that Tiger Woods’ reputation has taken a brutal beatdown over the past five days.

But still, this news is a real bellwether that, as far as some fans are concerned, it will never be the same for the reigning world No. 1. The creator, author and pastor of the so-called First Church of Tiger Woods is shutting down his website in complete disgust.

John Ziegler, a talk-show commentator based in Los Angeles, began the irreverent website TigerWoodsIsGod.com nine years ago and has had plenty of fun toying around with the notion that Woods is, indeed, the Chosen One as it relates to golf.

He has since changed the name on the site's home page to The Damnation of Tiger Woods and penned the following screed, which is as harsh and scathing as anything written about Woods on any mainstream outlet over the past few days. Actually, it probably tops the list.

And mind you, Ziegler once considered himself one of Woods’ biggest supporters. This probably speaks to the level of betrayal felt by some Woods followers. He wrote:

“After several days of evaluation, I have decided to disband the First Church of Tiger Woods (as indicated by the graphics at the top of this website) and I will not renew the TigerWoodsIsGod domain name when it expires in a couple of months. Any future commentary on this site (which may not happen at all) will be regarding Tiger’s failings in relation to his affair/accident debacle which continues to unfold almost by the hour.

“Because the First Church of Tiger Woods has been in existence since late 1996 and this website has been around since early 2000, you might think that such a decision might be difficult. In this case, it was not. Unfortunately, Tiger Woods has made it all too easy to realize that he is no longer worthy of any special admiration.   

“The events of the past few days have revealed Tiger to be a serial adulterer, a blatant liar and a selfish coward. While I am sure I will always respect his ability as a golfer, that was only a very small part of why this much-misunderstood website was created and why it became such a big part of my life. 

“As I have documented in my columns below, Tiger is clearly no longer deserving of being seen as a role model or a hero and he has needlessly squandered his unique potential to be a positive force in our country and the world. While I am relatively sure that Tiger will make a comeback from this sad episode and that there will be great moments for him in the future, I personally am done with Tiger Woods and I doubt that I will even care very much about whatever else he might achieve on the golf course (for someone who once vowed to make sure he lived until he saw Tiger get to 19 major championships, I have a hard time believing I can write those words with such ease).”

He then listed a series of Woods’ perceived “sins,” as he called them. Ziegler doubts that he is the lone man deserting the foundering ship, either.

“In the end, this situation, like much of life, is all about expectations,” Ziegler wrote. “To whom much is given, much is expected. No one has ever been given more than Tiger and therefore our expectations for him were also unprecedented.

“He has failed to live up to those expectations and he has shattered a sacred trust that cannot be repaired. Therefore, Tiger Woods now has at least one less supporter. I am quite sure that I am not alone.”

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com