Sixty Hellish Days

By Randall MellDecember 1, 2009, 6:41 am
WINDERMERE, Fla. – When will Tiger Woods play next now that he has withdrawn from the Chevron World Challenge?

That wasn’t the compelling question after the news broke Monday.

With his tournament news conference now canceled, the question is when will Woods next speak publicly and what will he say?
Tiger Woods is facing a challenge unlike any on the golf course. (Getty Images)
That’s how upside down golf has turned since Woods crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant and tree outside his Isleworth mansion early Friday morning. For the first time more of us will be hanging on how straight and true his words ring than his tee shots fly.

He likely won’t play a tournament until the Century Club of San Diego Invitational, which begins on Jan. 28.

That’s 60 days.

Check that. That’s 60 hellish days if Woods doesn’t address the mysterious circumstances surrounding his crash.

You know who will relish those two months if Woods remains silent about the events that night of the crash? TMZ, National Enquirer, Star Magazine, People and other celebrity news and tabloid journalism outlets. They’ll be more than delighted to try to fill in the missing details Woods won’t provide.

In a bygone era, it might not have mattered, but celebrity news publications, supermarket tabloids and their Web sites are flourishing in a time when newspapers are going out of business and television news departments are slashing their staffs. People are getting their news in different ways now. It may be problematic, but it’s a fact of life.

Woods, 33, has been an exemplary role model in the more than decade that he’s ruled over his sport. Outside some cursing over bad shots and a few angrily tossed clubs, he’s avoided the pitfalls that have tarnished the images of so many stars of other sports.

An important question mainstream journalists must wrestle with in covering this story is over Woods’ right to privacy.

Even as a public figure, where does Woods’ right to privacy end and our right to know begin?

How much do we really have the right to know about what happened that night?

You can argue that whenever someone uses his popularity for profit, he forfeits a measure of privacy. When you allow your image to be used to sell golf clubs, cars or whatever, you are telling the public that the product is worth buying because of who you are. That opens the door fairly to the question: “Who the hell are you? Are you who we think you are?”

You can argue that when you use your popularity to profit, you’re making shareholders of the public who buy into you. They’re investing in you when they cheer for you or buy the products you are endorsing. They believe as shareholders they have a right to know you.

For some of us, that sounds good, but it’s also baloney.

It’s rationalizing because we know what’s really driving the demand to know what happened to Woods that night.

There’s an element of human nature that wants to know the most intimate details about our neighbors. “Hey, did you hear what happened to Johnny Doe’s wife?” It’s that simple. It’s what fuels celebrity sites and tabloid journalism. They wouldn’t be in business if people weren’t so eager to buy what they’re selling.

Woods’ determination to protect his family and personal life has always seemed noble, but even that’s being twisted in this maelstrom. The harder he fights to protect his privacy through this, the more he appears to be hiding something that’s less than noble.

For such a fiercely private man, this has to be agonizing. His wife, his two young children, they’re affected by all this, too.

The longer Woods goes without giving an explanation, the more painful the innuendo. Of course, there could be more pain explaining.

That’s the agonizing dilemma Woods faces between now and the 60 days before he tees it up in his next tournament.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Getty Images

LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."

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

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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