Silence nothing new for Tiger Woods
The PR specialists who are making themselves available for expert opinion (and their own publicity) have mostly concluded that Woods is making a big mistake by hiding behind his silence over the car crash outside his home last week.
Not many would dispute that.
Keeping quiet only fueled speculation and innuendo that is not likely to end with the Florida Highway Patrol announcement Tuesday that Woods will be cited for reckless driving and fined $164, and its investigation is over.
Even so, no one should be surprised by how Woods and his management team are proceeding.
He has been handling things his own way since he turned pro.
Woods does not get into many media confrontations. When he does, the response is short and often distributed on paper.
After the famous GQ article in 1997, in which Woods was quoted as telling jokes with racial overtones in the back seat of a car, he issued a statement through IMG in which he confessed to the jokes. “It’s no secret that I’m 21 years old and that I’m naive about the motives of certain ambitious writers,” it said.
He was playing at Bay Hill when the article came out. The day after his statement, upon finishing his round, Woods rushed by a group of reporters and ducked inside a tent to sign autographs.
That was the first – and last – time Woods could be found in an autograph tent.
At his next news conference, a week later at The Players Championship, Woods repeated the line about being naive. When someone started to ask about the magazine article, Woods cut him off.
“I have already answered enough on that GQ article,” he said.
His first big gaffe happened right after he turned pro in 1996, when he was playing on sponsor exemptions to get his PGA Tour card. Once he had the money he needed in four tournaments, Woods abruptly withdrew from the Buick Challenge, citing exhaustion. The problem was he also bailed on an invitation-only dinner in his honor to receive the Fred Haskins Award for being the NCAA Player of the Year.
Woods offered only a statement – no mention of the dinner – and was roasted by players and tournament officials.
He finally responded with a guest column for a golf magazine in which he recognized his mistake.
“Even though I know I did the right thing in getting away, I should have stayed long enough to attend the dinner and then gone home,” he wrote. “But hindsight is 20-20.”
Those incidents were quickly forgotten after Woods began an astonishing run into the record books with his watershed victory in the 1997 Masters. But then came another incident, perhaps the most publicized – until now.
A week after his Masters victory, Fuzzy Zoeller was quoted on CNN as suggesting Woods not have fried chicken on the Champions Dinner menu the next year. “Or collard greens or whatever the hell they serve,” Zoeller said.
Zoeller apologized immediately. It took three days for Woods to accept the apology – through a statement. By then, Zoeller had lost his endorsement with KMart, and the popular two-time major champion was never the same. During the longest three days of Zoeller’s life, Woods was said to be unavailable while meeting with Nike executives in Oregon.
More issues followed. More guarded responses.
The all-male membership at Augusta National? Woods managed to take both sides of the delicate issue, saying the club should have a female member while acknowledging the rights of a private club to set its own rules. It got so intense that The New York Times wrote an editorial urging Woods to boycott the Masters.
Through it all, he never got off script.
In a 2000 dispute with the PGA Tour over ownership of his marketing rights, Woods used a golf magazine to get across his complaints. When a reporter caught up with Woods in Spain and asked if he would ever leave the Tour, Woods delivered another calculated answer without saying a word. He smiled and he shrugged. And then he walked away.
He met with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem two months later, and they have been mostly allies ever since.
Even without time to prepare an answer (or statement), Woods has dismissed criticism of other issues – from throwing clubs to cursing to not helping tournaments by announcing earlier his intentions to play – with a short answer.
A year ago, his caddie was quoted by a New Zealand newspaper making disparaging remarks about Phil Mickelson. The night before his news conference at the Chevron World Challenge, Woods put out a statement saying he was disappointed in caddie Steve Williams, and that he had dealt with the matter and it was closed.
He took two questions the next day, no more. The issue never really came up again.
Woods so far has issued one statement on his Web site about the car crash – two days after the patrol first reported the accident. He said it was his fault, that he’s not perfect. He praised his wife for acting “courageously.” And he said it would remain a private matter.
Woods likely will go another two months before facing the media. Even if the story has lost its steam, questions are sure to come up.
If history is any indication, Woods still won’t answer them.
Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome
Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)
The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...
And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.
Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas
He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.
Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.
Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.
In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.
Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.
Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.
Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic
Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double
Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open
Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open
Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row
Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow
Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship
The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ
Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year
And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season
Photo Galleries: Best of ...
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com counted down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below. And click here for the full collection of articles.
Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge
ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.
The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.
They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.
Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.
Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.
Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.
''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''
The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.
In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''
Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.