Norman says Tiger has responsibilities as a public figure


NAPLES, Fla. – Tiger Woods has the right to privacy, but he also has responsibilities as a public figure, Greg Norman told Golf Channel’s Inga Hammond in an interview that will air tonight on Golf Central at 6 p.m. with a replay at 11:30 p.m.

“I hope Tiger sorts these issues out,” Norman said. “Things like that should stay behind closed doors, but then again we are public figures. There are times when people feel like they can reach through the TV screen and say `I own you, I know you because I buy a product you represent.’ That’s a part of it. You have to accept that responsibility.”

Norman is host to the Shark Shootout, which begins Friday at Tiburon Golf Club at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort.

Woods apologized for “transgressions” in a statement on his Web Site last week after Us Weekly and the National Enquirer published stories alleging extramarital affairs.

Norman dealt with supermarket tabloid scrutiny after he split from his wife of 26 years, Laura Andrassy, to marry tennis great Chris Evert and again when Norman and Evert announced in October that they were separating after 15 months of marriage. The separation with Evert was announced days before Norman’s arrival as the International captain at the Presidents Cup at Harding Park in San Francisco. Norman announced at Harding Park that focus should be on the matches and he would not answer questions about the separation.

“Unfortunately, the media are the media,” Norman told Hammond. “They support you on the way up. And when you need them, we use you just as much as you use us. And when you step across the line, you’ve got to kind of take a little bit of the wrath of God, or whatever you want to call it.”

Norman said he hopes Woods sorts out matters with his wife, but he also said nobody’s bigger than the game.

“You don’t want to see any residual fallout into the game,” Norman said.

In the Shark Shootout media room before the interview with Hammond, Norman was asked how he thought the business of the game might be affected by Woods’ troubles.

“There’s obviously some damage control that will have to be put in position and into place,” Norman said. “There’s no question about that. He is the leader of the pack.

“He does represent the PGA Tour. He does represent golf in a lot of ways, so there will be an impact. I really can’t comment on that, but I’m sure there are people thinking about it, reacting about it, making assumptions. And what’s it going to be like when he comes out and plays again? Or is he going to come out and play again? There’s all these speculations out there, and quite honestly, what is really the truth? Nobody is going to know that until we really know.”