Schools in despite Tigers many woes

By Associated PressJanuary 30, 2010, 7:47 pm

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Outside the Tiger Woods Learning Center, visitors arewelcomed with a message etched in concrete and another time.

“Tiger,” it says, “thank you for being an adult role model.”

Inside, past a huge bronze sculpture of Woods and his father in the lobby,eager fifth-graders wielding scalpels and tweezers are busy dissecting squid. Inanother classroom, they’re studying marine science.

Every week brings busloads of kids to the sparkling, new center just a fewgood Tiger tee shots from Disneyland. The center’s mission is to help them thinkabout how different classes—which tilt toward math, science and technology—can lead to a career they’d like.

For the time being, it’s business as usual at the 35,000-square foot center,set next to a municipal golf course in a working-class neighborhood. The falloutfrom the scandal that brought down the school’s benefactor hasn’t intruded, sofar, at a place where Woods always believed he did his best work.

Greg McLaughlin, head of the Tiger Woods Foundation, says the center hasenough financial support to carry on while Woods is on hiatus from golf.

The future is a bit more unsettled, if only because everything about Woodsright now is unsettled. But if McLaughlin is worried, he doesn’t show it.

“We feel pretty confident we’re in a good place right now,” he said. “Wehave a pretty strong financial position which is a tribute to our fundraisingefforts, and I think that will sustain us during Tiger’s indefinite leave.”

While every new day seems to bring a new sighting of Woods and paparazziscramble to get pictures of him and his family, things are decidedly more quietat 1 Tiger Woods Way, where life inside his learning center goes on just as ithas the last few years.

Fifth-graders arrive every morning by bus for their weeklong stay. They seemmore interested in trying to build a rocket or filming a video than they do inthe personal life of the man who made the place possible.

“They haven’t made any comment about it at all,” school director KatherineBihr said.

Woods always seemed destined to become a towering figure in sports, from thetime he appeared on national television as a 2-year-old with a cut-down golfclub to the time he became the first African-American to win the Masters. Withplenty of guidance from his father, Earl, he was equally determined to create alegacy away from the golf course.

Father and son created the Tiger Woods Foundation when he turned pro in1996, and for years it was a constant reminder to Woods that he was making adifference in the lives of kids who wouldn’t know the difference between a9-iron and a putter.

Woods, by most accounts, hasn’t reached out to many people since going intoseclusion. But one of the calls he did make was to assure the foundation he wasnot on a permanent leave of absence.

“He specifically wanted to talk about the foundation and his dedication andcommitment to the kids we served,” McLaughlin said. “I conveyed that to allthe staff and board members.”

Just as important were the calls from donors and sponsors. Like Tiger, theyweren’t bailing, either.

“To the contrary, we’re actually pleased all of our partners are extremelysupportive of our work,” McLaughlin said. “I can’t speculate what might happenin the future, but our partners know the quality of our work.”

How long the Tiger Woods Foundation can continue to fund the learning centerand its other programs at current levels may depend on how long it takes Woodsto rehabilitate his image. Though the foundation has millions in the bank, itsfortunes largely revolve around that of the golfer who started it 14 years ago.

In addition, the foundation likely will have to spend millions on a secondlearning center in Washington that still doesn’t have a site more than two yearsafter it was announced.

Until now, much of the foundation’s money came from events Woods isconnected with, including his own tournament every December near Los Angeles.Chevron signed on as the title sponsor in 2008, declaring it a partnership bornof “shared ideals and commitments.”

The foundation also runs the AT&T National, hosted by Woods in Washington inthe summer. Woods may or may not be playing in the tournament, but the delicatesubject of hosting it was resolved, at least temporarily, when he agreed to laylow this year.

Though AT&T dumped its commercial sponsorship of Woods in the wake of thescandal, the corporation is contracted for the tournament through 2014.

The other two events the foundation relies on for income are the Tiger Jam,an annual concert in Las Vegas, and the food-centric Block Party in SouthernCalifornia. The Tiger Jam, which raises about $1 million a year, would seem tobe most in jeopardy because it is largely dependent on both its host and thewillingness of star music acts to appear with him for the benefit.

“It’s our intent to have a 13th Tiger Jam in 2010,” McLaughlin said.“We’re still working on trying to find a date that would work. It’s alwaysdriven by finding an artist able to perform.”

Though the tournaments and events generate plenty of money, they’re notexactly cash cows for the Woods foundation. According to IRS forms filed for thefiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2008, they took in $36.2 million but cost $32.7million to produce.

And while Woods has talked of reaching millions of children with his charityefforts, his foundation is relatively small compared with others. Amongsports-related charities alone, the Tiger Woods Foundation ranked 15th on a listcompiled by the nonprofit Foundation Center, just ahead of Henry Aaron’s ChasingThe Dream Foundation.

McLaughlin says the foundation and its related entities have assets of about$99 million. Last year, $4.7 million was spent to run the learning center and$2.8 million was distributed as scholarships and grants to different charitiesand organizations. Figures filed on IRS 990 returns are somewhat lower for ayear earlier, listing assets of $75 million and spending of about $6 million.

The foundation was hit that year by big losses in the stock market,something not unique to Woods’ charity. But the market has rebounded and the twotournaments should provide a steady stream of income at least for the nearfuture. The foundation, meanwhile, still has considerable liquid assets and,even if donations dried up, Woods himself has deep pockets.

Even before Woods became embroiled in a sex scandal, not everyone shared theview that he was doing all he could to help disadvantaged children. Hall of Famerunning back Jim Brown contended last year that Woods “gets away with teachingkids to play golf, and that’s his contribution” to society.

But almost every fifth-grader in Anaheim goes through the learning center,and most have never picked up a golf club. And while the driving range isprominent, the focus is more on science and careers than drivers.

The head of the Anaheim City School District says he’s grateful for thecenter, saying the 20,000 or so kids it has touched in its short existence faroutweighs anything Woods may have done in his personal life.

“Having a resource like the Tiger Woods Learning Center is justincredible,” superintendent Jose Banda said. “It comes down to money,especially with budgets the way they are. The stuff they have is state of theart and expensive stuff.”

On a recent morning, the driving range out the back door was empty. Duringbreaks, the fifth-graders are likelier to be kicking a soccer ball than hittinggolf balls.

This class is mostly Hispanic, and nearly all are from low-income families.Ask if they know who Tiger Woods is, and they’re quick with a response.

“He’s a professional golfer,” one says.

Ask what else they know about Woods and you get little more than a shrug ora smile. If they’ve heard whispers from their parents or watched things on TV,they don’t let on.

McLaughlin, who has known Woods since he offered him an exemption into theLos Angeles Open as a teenager, admits he was initially blindsided by the wholescandal.

“I wasn’t aware of any of the indiscretions that became known, but I cantell you Tiger is a good person and someone I’ve known a long time,” McLaughlinsaid. “What I’ve seen over 20 years seeing his commitment to kids and thefoundation is undeniable.”

Not only will Woods’ charities survive and thrive, McLaughlin maintains, buthis legacy will someday change. He’s convinced there is a higher calling forWoods, one that will someday outweigh his current troubles.

“When his obituary is written, it will say here’s an individual who made atremendous contribution to society,” he said. “When that time comes peoplewill realize what he’s done for millions of kids. You have to think thatultimately this will be a big part of how people view him in life.”

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 3, Tiger Woods

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:45 pm

After returning to competition at the Hero World Challenge in December 2016, Woods started the new year with an ambitious slate of tournament starts as he eyed his first full season since 2013. But he made it only three rounds, looking rusty en route to a missed cut at Torrey Pines before withdrawing abruptly in Dubai.

The “spasms” that led to that withdrawal turned out to be something far more serious, as Woods underwent his fourth and most invasive back surgery in April, a lumbar fusion. It brought with it an extensive rehabilitation, and at the Presidents Cup in September Woods humored the prospect that he might never again play competitive golf.

At Liberty National he also faced some scrutiny for an off-course incident from months prior. In May he was arrested for suspicion of DUI, an incident that produced a startling roadside video of an intoxicated Woods struggling to follow instructions from the arresting officer after driving erratically.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


While he was not drinking at the time, Woods was found to have a mix of several prescription medications in his system, including multiple painkillers. He checked himself into a private drug treatment program in July to address his dependency issues, and in October he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving.

But the incident was barely a memory when Woods again made a return to competition in the Bahamas at the tournament he hosts. This time around he exceeded nearly every expectation, twice shooting 4-under 68 while tying for ninth among the 18-man field. Having re-tooled his swing following fusion surgery, Woods appeared relaxed, happy and healthy while briefly taking the lead during the tournament’s second round.

What lies ahead for Woods in 2018 remains uncertain, as the stop-and-start nature of this past season serves as a cautionary tale. But after a harrowing arrest and another serious surgery, he seems once again focused on his game, intent on chasing down a new crop of elite talent, some of whom are barely more than half his age.

Woods' initial comeback short-lived, leads to another back surgery

Article: Woods undergoes "successful" fourth back surgery

Article: Woods (back spasm) withdraws from Dubai

Article: Players disappointed Woods withdraws from Dubai

Really, again: Tiger undergoes fourth back surgery

Begay on Tiger: Future is 'extremely uncertain'


Woods arrested for DUI, enters diversion program after getting "professional help"

Article: Woods arrested for DUI in May

Article: Police say Woods had 5 drugs in system when arrested

Article: DUI affidavit states Tiger asleep in parked car

Dashcam video released of Tiger's DUI arrest

Begay, Rolfing: Tiger's arrest needs to be wakeup call

Photos: Tiger Woods' car during DUI arrest

Tiger Woods at his 2017 DUI court hearing.

Photos: Tiger Woods in court for DUI hearing

Article: Tiger gets 'professional help' for prescription meds

Tiger Woods at his 2017 DUI court hearing.

Article: Woods pleads in court guilty to reckless driving


Woods goes from unsure of his pro golf future to resuming full golf activities

Article: Doctor clears Woods for full golf activity six months after back surgery

Article: Tiger doesn't know what future holds

Article: Woods back to making full swings

Woods admits he might never return to competition

Making progress: Breaking down Tiger's driver swing


Woods returns to competition for first time since February at Hero World Challenge

Article: Hero comeback a success for healthy Woods

Article: Woods discusses his back: 'No issues at all, none'

Tiger Tracker: Woods finished T-9 in return to competition

Chamblee: 'I was wrong' about some of my Woods skepticism

Tiger, if you were hurting, would you tell us? 'Yeah, I'd tell you'


Woods out and about in 2017

Article: Video, images of Tiger's round with Trump

Article: Woods posts photo as 'Mac Daddy Santa'

Article: Tiger at U.S. Open sitting in Nadal's box

Article: Shirtless Tiger holds up a massive lobster

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

NBC Sports' Coverage of LPGA Tour in 2017 Most-Viewed Season Ever for NBC Sports

By Golf Channel Public RelationsDecember 13, 2017, 8:45 pm

NBC Sports’ LPGA Tour Coverage Ties 2013 for Most-Watched Year Since 2011

NBC and Golf Channel Boast Top-6 Most-Watched Women’s Golf Telecasts in 2017

Beginning with the dramatic playoff finish at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic in January and concluding with Lexi Thompson winning the $1 million Race to the CME Globe, nearly 22 million viewers tuned in to LPGA Tour coverage across Golf Channel and NBC in 2017. This makes 2017 the most-viewed LPGA Tour season across NBC Sports since Golf Channel joined the NBC Sports Group in 2011. Additionally, 2017 tied 2013 as the LPGA Tour’s most-watched year across NBC Sports since 2011. Coverage drew an average of 221,000 viewers per telecast in 2017 (+24% vs. 2016), according to data released by The Nielsen Company.

NBC SPORTS GROUP CLAIMS TOP-6 MOST-WATCHED WOMEN’S GOLF TELECASTS IN ‘17

For the first time ever in televised women’s golf, Sunday’s final round of the RICOH Women’s British Open (Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017, 1.1 million viewers) delivered the most-watched and highest-rated women’s golf telecast of the year. NBC’s Saturday (Day 2) coverage of the Solheim Cup in August placed second with 968,000 viewers, followed by Sunday’s Solheim Cup coverage on NBC with 946,000 viewers. Golf Channel’s live coverage of Sunday’s final day of the Solheim Cup drew 795,000 viewers, the most-watched women’s golf event on cable in eight years.

Rank

Network

Event

Day

Avg. Viewers P2+

1

NBC

RICOH WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN

Sunday

1,100,526

2

NBC

SOLHEIM CUP

Saturday

968,202

3

NBC

SOLHEIM CUP

Sunday

946,387

4

NBC

KPMG WOMEN'S PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

Sunday

839,983

5

NBC

RICOH WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN

Saturday

808,578

6

GOLF

SOLHEIM CUP

Sunday

795,000

ADDITIONAL VIEWERSHIP MILESTONES FOR WOMEN’S GOLF IN 2017

  • ANA Inspiration - The LPGA’s first major championship delivered thefifth most-watched LPGA final round in Golf Channel history with 551,000 viewers when So Yeon Ryu defeated Lexi Thompson in a playoff following Thompson being assessed a four-stroke penalty earlier in the final round.
  • KPMG Women’s PGA Championship – The LPGA’s second major was seen by 6.6 million viewers across Golf Channel and NBC, the largest audience for the event on record (2006-17). Sunday’s final round on NBC, which saw Danielle Kang win her first LPGA Tour event over defending champion Brooke Henderson, also was the most-watched telecast in the event’s history with 840,000 average viewers.
  • RICOH Women’s British Open – NBC’s Sunday coverage of the RICOH Women’s British Open delivered the most-watched and highest-rated women’s golf telecast in 2017 (.78 U.S. HH rating, 1.1 million viewers). In total, 7 million unique viewers tuned in to coverage across Golf Channel and NBC, the most-watched RICOH Women’s British Open in the past 10 years and the most-watched among the five women’s major championships in 2017.
  • Solheim Cup – Seen by a total audience of 7.3 million viewers across Golf Channel and NBC, the Solheim Cup posted the largest total audience for women’s golf since the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open on ESPN/NBC. Golf Channel’s live coverage of the final day drew 795,000 average viewers, becoming the most-watched women’s golf telecast on cable in the last eight years, since the final day of the 2009 Solheim Cup.

GOLF CHANNEL DIGITAL POSTS RECORD STREAMING CONSUMPTION

Golf Channel Digital posted record numbers of LPGA streaming consumption with 11.9 million live minutes streamed across LPGA Tour telecasts in 2017 (+563% vs. 2016).

  • Solheim Cup – Three-day coverage of the Solheim Cup saw 6.3 million minutes streamed across NBC Sports’ Digital platforms, trailing only the 2016 Rio Olympics (9 million) as the most-ever for a women’s golf event airing on Golf Channel / NBC.
  • RICOH Women’s British Open – Four-day coverage of the RICOH Women’s British Open saw 2 million minutes streamed, +773% vs. 2016.

NBC Sports Group combined to air 31 LPGA Tour events in 2017 and a total of 420 hours of coverage, the most in LPGA history. The exclusive cable home to the LPGA Tour, Golf Channel aired coverage of four of five women’s major championships in 2017, with three majors also airing on NBC: the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, RICOH Women’s British Open and The Evian Championship. The biennial Solheim Cup also returned to network television for the first time in 15 years with weekend coverage on NBC.

Source: Nielsen 2017 Live+Same Day DVR vs. prior available data. Persons 2+ avg 000’s and/or Persons 2+ reach w/six-minute qualifier. Digital Metrics from Adobe Reports & Analytics. Details available.

Hensby takes full responsibility for violation

By Rex HoggardDecember 13, 2017, 5:28 pm

The PGA Tour’s Anti-Doping Program manual covers 48 pages of details, from the pressing to the mundane, but for Mark Hensby the key section of the policy could be found on Page 5.

“The collector may allow you to delay reporting to the testing area for unavoidable obligations; however, you will be monitored from the time of notification until completion of the sample collection process,” the policy reads. “A failure to report to the testing area by the required time is the same as a doping violation under the program.”

Hensby, a 46-year-old former Tour winner from Australia, didn’t read that section, or any other part of the manual. In fact, he said he hasn’t received the circuit’s anti-doping manual in years. Not that he uses that as an excuse.

To be clear, Hensby doesn’t blame his anti-doping plight on anyone else.

“At the end of the day it’s my responsibility. I take full responsibility,” he told GolfChannel.com.

Like Doug Barron, Scott Stallings and even Vijay Singh before him, Hensby ran afoul of the Tour’s anti-doping policy because, essentially, of a clerical error. There were no failed tests, no in-depth investigations, no seedy entourages who sent Hensby down a dark road of performance-enhancing drug use.

Just a simple misunderstanding combined with bad timing.

Hensby, who last played a full season on Tour in 2003, had just completed the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship when he was approached by a member of the Tour’s anti-doping testing staff. He was angry about his play and had just used the restroom on the 17th hole and, he admits, was in no mood to wait around to take the urine test.

“Once I said, ‘Can I take it in the morning,’ [the Tour’s anti-doping official] said, ‘We can’t hold you here,’” Hensby recalled. “I just left.”

Not one but two officials called Hensby that night to ask why he’d declined to take the test, and he said he was even advised to return to the Country Club of Jackson (Miss.) to take the test, which is curious because the policy doesn’t allow for such gaps between notification of a test and the actual testing.

According to the policy, a player is considered in violation of the program if he leaves the presence of the doping control officers without providing the required sample.

A Tour official declined to comment on the matter citing the circuit’s policy not to comment on doping violations beyond the initial disclosure.

A week later, Hensby was informed he was in violation of the Tour’s policy and although he submitted a letter to the commissioner explaining the reasons for his failure to take the test he was told he would be suspended from playing in any Tour-sanctioned events (including events on the Web.com Tour) for a year.

“I understand now what the consequences are, but you know I’ve been banned for a performance-enhancing drug violation, and I don’t take performance-enhancing drugs,” Hensby said.

Hensby isn’t challenging his suspension nor did he have any interest in criticizing the Tour’s policy, instead his message two days after the circuit announced the suspension was focused on his fellow Tour members.

“I think the players need to read that manual really, really well. There are things I wasn’t aware of and I think other players weren’t aware of either,” he said. “You have to read the manual.”

It was a similar message Stallings offered following his 90-day suspension in 2015 after he turned himself in for using DHEA, an anabolic agent that is the precursor to testosterone production and banned by the Tour.

“This whole thing was a unique situation that could have been dealt with differently, but I made a mistake and I owned up to it,” Stallings said at the time.

Barron’s 2009 suspension, which was for a year, also could have been avoided after he tested positive for supplemental testosterone and a beta-blocker, both of which were prescribed by a doctor for what were by many accounts legitimate health issues.

And Singh’s case, well that chapter is still pending in the New York Supreme Court, but the essential element of the Fijian’s violation was based on his admitted use of deer-antler spray, which contained a compound called IGF-1. Although IGF-1 is a banned substance, the World Anti-Doping Agency has ruled that the use of deer-antler spray is not a violation if an athlete doesn’t fail a drug test. Singh never failed a test.

The Tour’s anti-doping history is littered with cases that could have been avoided, cases that should have been avoided. Despite the circuit’s best educational efforts, it’s been these relatively innocent violations that have defined the program.

In retrospect, Hensby knows he should have taken the test. He said he had nothing to hide, but anger got the best of him.

“To be honest, it would have been hard, the way I was feeling that day, I know I’m a hothead at times, but I would have probably stayed [had he known the consequences],” he admitted. “You’ve got to understand that if you have too much water you can’t get a test either and then you have to stay even longer.”

Hensby said before his run in with the anti-doping small print he wasn’t sure what his professional future would be, but his suspension has given him perspective and a unique motivation.

“I was talking to my wife last night, I have a little boy, it’s been a long month,” said Hensby after dropping his son, Caden, off at school. “I think I have a little more drive now and when I come back. I wasn’t going to play anymore, but when I do come back I am going to be motivated.”

He’s also going to be informed when it comes to the Tour’s anti-doping policy, and he hopes his follow professionals take a similar interest.