CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Tiger Woods is no doubt grateful there were no tabloid journalists at his Wednesday news conference on the eve of the Quail Hollow Championship. The tournament denied media credentials to all but full-time sports journalists, and you even needed a ticket to get inside the interview tent.
The upshot of all this is that about 50 journalists were granted admittance for the 16-minute conference, at which nobody asked Woods whether he is in the process of getting divorced. Given the rumors that have been swirling since wife Elin did not attend the Masters, before taking off last week for a vacation with their two young children, it would have been a fair question. However, full-time golf and sports writers generally prefer to keep the questions somewhat golf related and it seems nothing that‘s happened with Woods in the past five months has changed that.
Of course, it’s doubtful Woods would have offered anything other than a “that’s personal” response to a divorce question, but let’s just say he had confirmed the rumors. Every writer who attended the news conference would have led with that news, yet nobody even asked the question. This lends credence to the charge from the non-golf media that the golf media is afraid to ask the tough questions.
The closest anyone came to asking Woods about his personal life was a question from Alan Blondin, a golf writer with the Myrtle Beach Sun News.
“You had to get back on the road to play golf, but the road is also where temptation lies. Was there any trepidation on your part to get back on the road because of that possible temptation?” Blondin asked, more in hope than expectation.
“No, not at all, not after what I’ve been through and the treatment and all my peers,” he responded.
But Woods was more expansive when asked whether his life had returned to normal. “No, there’s paparazzi everywhere, at home, helicopters here and there, people driving by, paparazzi camping out in front of the gates. That hasn’t changed,” he claimed.
About the only time he became even slightly animated was when asked about his attendance last week at a Nickelback rock concert last week.
“A couple of band members are friends of mine, and that’s why I went. I just had a great time and unfortunately I got criticized for seeing my friends,” he bristled.
He batted away several other questions in his usual somewhat dismissive manner.
For example, he was asked who was the first person to recommend that he receive the “blood spinning” treatment from Dr. Tony Galea, the controversial Canadian doctor who is under investigation by American and Canadian authorities for providing performance enhancing drugs to various athletes.
“I had a therapist, a physical therapist that recommended him (Galea),” said Woods, who then refused to reveal the name of his trainer but admitted a “few others“ had also recommended Galea.
Sooner or later a tabloid writer will get into a Woods news conference and ask some direct and perhaps embarrassing questions about his personal life. But on this day, at least, as at the Masters, it was relatively easy work for a man who’s always been secretive about all aspects of his off-course life.
He clearly didn’t enjoy himself but he at least escaped without doing any more damage to his reputation. At this point, that’s the best he can hope for.