Woods quest for privacy meets its great challenge

By Doug FergusonNovember 30, 2009, 6:23 pm

JACKSONVILLE, Florida – All anyone needs to know about Tiger Woods off the golf course is what he named his yacht.


Woods gave up a big piece of that when he left Stanford University after two years, turned pro with a “Hello, World” ad campaign and a $40 million endorsement deal, then quickly became one of the most recognizable athletes on earth.

He will invite some people into that world, but only so far.

Earlier this month in Shanghai, while playing a pro-am round at Sheshan International in a World Golf Championship, Woods allowed that he was staying in a cluster of mansions located on an island in the middle of the golf course. Some of the estates were valued at $14.5 million, and Woods could not believe the extravagance of these homes.

Approaching the island, he was asked which one he was staying in for the week.

“Oh, one of those over there,” he said dismissively.

It was a clear example of the world’s No. 1 player giving a morsel of insight, but not much more.

Once asked why he enjoyed scuba diving so much, Woods replied: “The fish don’t know who I am.”

He is friends with many, close to only a few. Among his best friends are Bryon Bell, whom he has known since junior high school, and Jerry Chang, a teammate at Stanford.

When he made history in 2001 as the only golfer to hold all four professional majors at the same time, Golf Digest put him on the magazine cover posing with the four trophies, along with his U.S. Amateur trophy.

Did he keep them on the mantel? A special trophy case? His bedroom?

That remains a mystery.

Even for a magazine with whom he has had a longtime relationship, the trophies were moved out of his house for the photo shoot. That $2.4 million home near the driving range at Isleworth is off limits to anyone not part of his circle.

It’s amazing that Woods has managed to keep such a thick wall around his personal life in the 14 years he’s commanded the spotlight. The last time his name might have been on any police report was when he was mugged going back to his dorm at Stanford in 1994.

In response to a query on his Facebook account in October, Woods said he and his wife, Elin, had managed to stay out of gossip magazines and tabloids. “I think we’ve avoided a lot of media attention because we’re kind of boring,” was the reply.

That changed Friday with a press release from the Florida Highway Patrol that Eldrick Tiger Woods, 33, of Windermere, struck a fire hydrant and a tree shortly after pulling out of his driveway. The patrol described the injuries as “serious,” making the news important enough to be the lead item on news channels and for networks to interrupt coverage of college football games.

Then came word of a small photo of Woods on the cover of the National Enquirer, alleging an affair with a New York night club hostess. The woman denied the story and flew to Los Angeles on Sunday to meet with high-profile attorney Gloria Allred.

Woods has had a general distrust of the media since a 1997 interview with GQ magazine in which he was quoted as telling racy jokes in the back seat of a car. He rarely spends much time in an interview, his answers always guarded. If he’s not the defending champion, he often will not go to the media center, making reporters come outside to see him.

The only criticism Woods has faced was not taking a stronger stand on social issues, such as the all-male membership at Augusta National, not playing more tournaments, or for cursing and throwing a club during competition.

But in all those cases, it was short-lived.

Questions about his car crash, however, will linger as long as Woods keeps it a mystery. He has dealt with a sporting media most of his life. Now he steps into the realm of celebrity media, which is far more relentless.

Speculation on what really happened that night outside – or inside – his home grows each day. Woods went 13 hours before confirming he was in a “minor accident,” then two more days before giving his side of the story Sunday.

He said it was his fault, an embarrassing accident, that he’s not perfect, and that any innuendoes were false and malicious. That hardly will be enough to keep the media satisfied.

Woods turned down a request by state troopers to talk three days in a row. Because it is only a traffic accident, he is not required by law to give a statement.

“Although Tiger realizes that there is a great deal of public curiosity, it has been conveyed to FHP that he simply has nothing more to add and wishes to protect the privacy of his family,” Mark Steinberg, his agent at IMG, said in an e-mail.

But that small camp of TV trucks parked outside the gates at Isleworth might not be leaving any time soon. Woods still is scheduled to compete in his Chevron World Challenge this week in Thousand Oaks, California. As of Sunday night, no one had withdrawn.

Would it not be wise to face the media, no matter how embarrassing, and move on?

That’s simply not his style. Woods can be self-deprecating, but only in the best of times. If he chooses not to show this week in California, he could easily go into hiding for the next two months. Hardly anyone saw him in public for four months after his knee surgery last year.

That won’t make the story go away. For all the records he is chasing inside the ropes, this might prove to be his greatest challenge.

Getty Images

Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.