Tiger Woods Personal failings let family down - COPIED

By Doug FergusonDecember 4, 2009, 11:10 pm

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Tiger Woods disclosed his “personal failings” in a 317-word statement on his Web site that did not delve into details, except to say that he “let my family down” and regrets it “with all of my heart.”

Still to be determined is whether this closes a shocking saga involving one of the biggest names in sport.

In the last week, Woods has faced intense media scrutiny after a car accident outside his home in the middle of the night and sordid allegations of affairs. Finally, on Wednesday, Woods acknowledged he had “not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves.”

Click here for Tiger's full statement.

The statement followed an Us Weekly cover story of a Los Angeles waitress claiming she had a 31-month affair with the world’s No. 1 golfer. Woods’ words were posted three hours after the magazine released a voice mail – provided by the waitress, Jaimee Grubbs – that Woods left on her phone three days before he rammed his Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant and tree outside his Florida home.

“I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart,” Woods said on his Web site. “I will strive to be a better person and the husband and father that my family deserves.”

He did not mention the allegations of an affair, only that he would deal with “my behavior and personal failings” alone with his family.

Along with a public apology, the man who has pursued privacy as relentlessly as he has chased major championships made another plea for privacy.

“Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn’t have to mean public confessions,” he said.

The investigation into Woods’ accident ended Tuesday when the Florida Highway Patrol issued a $164 citation for careless driving. The inspection of his personal life is seemingly just beginning.

Woods’ career – as a golfer, a pitchman and perhaps the most recognized athlete in the world – has been largely without blemish since he turned pro at age 20.

Three of his sponsors – Nike, Gatorade and EA Sports – expressed support or commitment to Woods. Gillette said it had no plans to change its marketing programs. AT&T declined comment.

In the most critical comment from a player, Jesper Parnevik said he owed an apology to Woods’ wife, Elin, a former Swedish model who once worked as a nanny for the Parnevik family.

“We probably thought he was a better guy than he is,” Parnevik told the Golf Channel from West Palm Beach, Fla., where he is in the final stage of PGA Tour qualifying.

Windermere police said Woods’ wife told them she smashed out the back windows of his SUV with a golf club to help get him out after he struck a fire hydrant and tree.

“I would probably need to apologize to her and hope she uses a driver next time instead of a 3-iron,” Parnevik said, adding that he has not spoken to Woods since the accident.

“It’s a private thing, of course,” the Swede said. “But when you are the guy he is – the world’s best athlete – you should think more before you do stuff … and maybe not ‘just do it,’ like Nike says.”

But other professional athletes had sympathy for Woods.

Jason Taylor walked into the Miami Dolphins’ locker room and saw ESPN running a tease about Woods. He reached up and turned off the TV. “Nobody’s damned business,” Taylor said.

Minnesota Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell lives in the same Isleworth gated community as Woods outside Orlando, Fla., and said it was “crazy” in the neighborhood. He said his wife told him paparazzi were everywhere and helicopters hovered overhead.

“My wife is a blonde and wears sunglasses in Florida, so every time she comes out of the gate, they’re snapping pictures,” Longwell said. “It’s a different thing than we’ve ever faced down there. It’s certainly a new wrinkle to it.

“You just pray for his family,” Longwell said. “You pray for his wife and kids. Just pray that if what’s coming out is true that he can learn from it and move on.”

Most players at the Chevron World Challenge – hosted by Woods, who withdrew earlier this week – offered him support, even as they were curious how he crashed his car in the wee hours of Friday morning.

“He’s trying to make it as private as he can, and it’s just hard, because everybody is trying to get a piece of information on really what happened,” said Steve Stricker, who regularly exchanges text messages with Woods, but hasn’t heard from him since the accident.

“I think his image is going to take a bit of a shot,” Stricker said. “I think I’d like to see him come on TV and just pour it out a little bit and show what’s happened. I don’t know if that will ever happen.”

In its final report released Wednesday, the Florida Highway Patrol said Woods caused $3,200 in property damage, was not wearing a seat belt and was traveling 30 mph in a 25 mph zone.

The six-page report – which did not include statements from Woods, his wife or any witnesses – said Woods’ SUV rubbed up against bushes, crossed over a curb, onto a grass median and into a row of hedges before striking the fire hydrant and a tree. Damage to his Cadillac Escalade was estimated at $8,000.

Far more damaging to his image was the Us Weekly cover story.

Grubbs told the magazine she met Woods at a Las Vegas nightclub the week after the 2007 Masters – two months before Woods’ wife gave birth to their first child.

In the voice mail released by the magazine, a man says to Grubbs:

“Hey, it’s, uh, it’s Tiger. I need you to do me a huge favor. Um, can you please, uh, take your name off your phone. My wife went through my phone. And, uh, may be calling you. If you can, please take your name off that and, um, and what do you call it just have it as a number on the voice mail, just have it as your telephone number. That’s it, OK. You gotta do this for me. Huge. Quickly. All right. Bye.”

The Associated Press could not confirm Woods was the caller.

Woods’ limited response after the crash – the first statement Friday spoke of a “minor accident” – fueled speculation about a domestic dispute.

“The stories in particular that physical violence played any role in the car accident were utterly false and malicious,” Woods said. “Elin has always done more to support our family and shown more grace than anyone could possibly expect.”

Such sordid revelations come at a crucial time for the PGA Tour, which is talking to a dozen companies about tournament sponsorship deals that expire after 2010. The tour also is to begin negotiations next year for a new TV contract.

Neal Pilson, former CBS Sports president who runs his own consulting business, did not think it would affect the next deal.

“We’re seeing this in the glare of the day, these incredible revelations,” Pilson said. “At some point, he’ll play golf and he’ll move on. At some point, this will become more embarrassing to the media than Tiger.”

TV ratings typically double when Woods is contention, and he has begun his season every year since 2006 at Torrey Pines in San Diego, which starts Jan. 28.

“Ratings will be good for golf. Aren’t you going to be watching?” Pilson said. “The ratings for Tiger are going to be higher than they might be ordinarily. I don’t think there will be any negative fallout for golf. This is a Tiger Woods story. He happens to be a golfer, but he’s a worldwide personality.”

AP Sports Writers Antonio Gonzalez in Orlando, Fla.; Jon Krawczynski in Minneapolis, Nancy Armour in Chicago, and Steve Wine in Miami contributed to this report.

Getty Images

Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers

By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:54 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.

Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.

While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.


Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”

Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.

“I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”

Getty Images

Rory tired of the near-misses, determined to close

By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:46 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy has returned to the Travelers Championship with an eye on bumping up his winning percentage.

McIlroy stormed from the back of the pack to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, but that remains his lone worldwide win since the 2016 Tour Championship. It speaks to McIlroy’s considerable ability and lofty expectations that, even with a number of other high finishes this season, he is left unsatisfied.

“I feel like I’ve had five realistic chances to win this year, and I’ve been able to close out one of them. That’s a bit disappointing, I guess,” McIlroy said. “But at least I’ve given myself five chances to win golf tournaments, which is much more than I did last year.”


Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


The most memorable of McIlroy’s near-misses is likely the Masters, when he played alongside Patrick Reed in Sunday’s final group but struggled en route to a T-5 finish. But more frustrating in the Ulsterman’s eyes were his runner-up at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, when he led by two shots with eight holes to go, and a second-place showing behind Francesco Molinari at the BMW PGA Championship in May.

“There’s been some good golf in there,” he said. “I feel like I let Dubai and Wentworth get away a little bit.”

He’ll have a chance to rectify that trend this week at TPC River Highlands, where he finished T-17 last year in his tournament debut and liked the course and the tournament enough to keep it on his schedule. It comes on the heels of a missed cut at the U.S. Open, when he was 10 over through 11 holes and never got on track. McIlroy views that result as more of an aberration during a season in which he has had plenty of chances to contend on the weekend.

“I didn’t necessarily play that badly last week. I feel like if I play similarly this week, I might have a good chance to win,” McIlroy said. “I think when you play in conditions like that, it magnifies parts of your game that maybe don’t stack up quite as good as the rest of your game, and it magnified a couple of things for me that I worked on over the weekend.”

Getty Images

Sunday run at Shinnecock gave Reed even more confidence

By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 9:08 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – While many big names are just coming around to the notion that the Travelers Championship is worth adding to the schedule, Patrick Reed has been making TPC River Highlands one of his favorite haunts for years.

Reed will make his seventh straight appearance outside Hartford, where he tied for fifth last year and was T-11 the year before that. He is eager to get back to the grind after a stressful week at the U.S. Open, both because of his past success here and because it will offer him a chance to build on a near-miss at Shinnecock Hills.

Reed started the final round three shots off the lead, but he quickly stormed toward the top of the leaderboard and became one of Brooks Koepka’s chief threats after birdies on five of his first seven holes. Reed couldn’t maintain the momentum in the middle of the round, carding three subsequent bogeys, and ultimately tied for fourth.


Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


It was a bittersweet result, but Reed is focusing on the positives after taking a couple days to reflect.

“If you would have told me that I had a chance to win coming down Sunday, I would have been pleased,” Reed said. “I felt like I just made too many careless mistakes towards the end, and because of that, you’re not going to win at any major making careless mistakes, especially on Sunday.”

Reed broke through for his first major title at the Masters, and he has now finished fourth or better in three straight majors dating back to a runner-up at the PGA last summer. With another chance to add to that record next month in Scotland, he hopes to carry the energy from last week’s close call into this week’s event on a course where he feels right at home.

“It just gives me confidence, more than anything,” Reed said. “Of course I would have loved to have closed it out and win, but it was a great week all in all, and there’s a lot of stuff I can take from it moving forward. That’s how I’m looking at it.”

Getty Images

Koepka back to work, looking to add to trophy collection

By Will GrayJune 20, 2018, 8:53 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Days after ensuring the U.S. Open trophy remained in his possession for another year, Brooks Koepka went back to work.

Koepka flew home to Florida after successfully defending his title at Shinnecock Hills, celebrating the victory Monday night with Dustin Johnson, Paulina Gretzky, swing coach Claude Harmon III and a handful of close friends. But he didn’t fully unwind because of a decision to honor his commitment to the Travelers Championship, becoming the first player to tee it up the week after a U.S. Open win since Justin Rose in 2013.

Koepka withdrew from the Travelers pro-am, but he flew north to Connecticut on Wednesday and arrived to TPC River Highlands around 3 p.m., quickly heading to the driving range to get in a light practice session.

“It still hasn’t sunk in, to be honest with you,” Koepka said. “I’m still focused on this week. It was just like, ‘All right, if I can get through this week, then I’m going to be hanging with my buddies next week.’ I know then maybe it’ll sink in, and I’ll get to reflect on it a little bit more.”


Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Koepka’s plans next week with friends in Boston meant this week’s event outside Hartford made logistical sense. But he was also motivated to play this week because, plainly, he hasn’t had that many playing opportunities this year after missing nearly four months with a wrist injury.

“I’ve had so many months at home being on the couch. I don’t need to spend any more time on the couch,” Koepka said. “As far as skipping, it never crossed my mind.”

Koepka’s legacy was undoubtedly bolstered by his win at Shinnecock, as he became the first player in nearly 30 years to successfully defend a U.S. Open title. But he has only one other PGA Tour win to his credit, that being the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open, and his goal for the rest of the season is to make 2018 his first year with multiple trophies on the mantle.

“If you’re out here for more than probably 15 events, it gives you a little better chance to win a couple times. Being on the sidelines isn’t fun,” Koepka said. “Keep doing what we’re doing and just try to win multiple times every year. I feel like I have the talent. I just never did it for whatever reason. Always felt like we ran into a buzzsaw. So just keep plugging away.”