Tiger Woods Personal failings let family down

By Doug FergusonDecember 3, 2009, 4:58 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

USC's Gaston leaves to become head coach at A&M

By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

Getty Images

Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.


Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

“There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

Getty Images

Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

“Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

“Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.

Getty Images

Just like last year, Spieth in desperate need of a spark

By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 8:38 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Jordan Spieth has arrived at the Travelers Championship in need of a turnaround. Again.

Spieth’s playoff victory last year over Daniel Berger, complete with a bunker hole-out and raucous celebration, went down as one of the most electrifying moments of 2017. It also propelled Spieth to some more major glory, as he won The Open in his very next start.

So it’s easy to forget the state of Spieth’s game when he first stepped foot on the grounds of TPC River Highlands a year ago. Things were, quite plainly, not going well.

He was struggling on the greens, even going so far as to switch putters at the AT&T Byron Nelson. He then failed to contend at Erin Hills, only netting a T-35 finish thanks to a final-round 69 that came hours before the leaders teed off.

So here we are again, with Spieth in search of a spark after a series of underwhelming performances that included last week’s effort at Shinnecock Hills, where he bogeyed the last two holes of his second round to miss the cut by a shot. Except this time, the climb back to the top may be even steeper than it was a year ago.

“I’m not sure where the state of my game is right now,” Spieth said. “If I strike the ball the way I have been this year, then the results are coming. But the last couple weeks I’ve played Muirfield and then the (U.S.) Open, and I hit the ball really poorly and didn’t give myself that many opportunities to let the putter do the work.”

While many big names play sporadically in the time between the Masters and U.S. Open, Spieth remained as busy as ever thanks to the Tour’s swing through Texas. So even after failing to contend much in the spring outside of a memorable finale in Augusta, and even after struggling for much of his week at TPC Sawgrass, Spieth looked out at his schedule and saw a myriad of possible turning points.

There was the AT&T Byron Nelson, played in his hometown and at a venue on which he was one of only a handful with any experience (T-21). Then a trip across town to Colonial, where he had beaten all but two players in a three-year stretch (T-32).


Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Throw in the missed cuts at Muirfield Village and Shinnecock Hills, and Spieth has made it to the last leg of a six-event stretch that has included only one off week and, to date, zero chances to contend come Sunday.

“I think here this week, the key for me is just to get out in the first round and try not to do too much,” Spieth said. “I mean, 90-plus percent of the tournaments the last two years I’ve thrown out my chances to win a golf tournament on Thursday. I’ve had too much to do from here on.”

That was certainly the case last week on Long Island, where Spieth’s hopes for a fourth major title evaporated well before course conditions became a focal point over the weekend. He was 4 over through his first two holes and spent much of the next 34 stuck in a fit of frustration. He gave himself a glimmer of hope with four late birdies Friday followed by a pair of bogeys that snuffed it out with equal speed.

Spieth has continued to preach patience throughout the year, but there’s no getting around some eye-popping stats; he's 188th on Tour this year in strokes gained: putting and 93rd in fairways hit. It can foster a pressure to find a cure-all in any given week, especially given how quickly he got a middling summer back on track last year.

“It’s something that you fight, sure,” Spieth said. “It’s been that way just about every tournament except Muirfield, because then you go to the U.S. Open and think you don’t even have to shoot under par to win this golf tournament. So as much as that kind of comes into your head, it’s not bothering me this time. I’m going to try and have fun, and make progress.”

After this week, Spieth will have some down time with family before making the trip overseas to Carnoustie. He plans to have a few private dinners accompanied by the claret jug, one last toast to last year’s success before turning the trophy back over to the R&A.

But even Spieth admitted that as it pertains to his chances to follow in Brooks Koepka’s footsteps by successfully defending a major title, he’ll be greatly aided by working his way into the mix this weekend. It represents the last chance in this early-summer swing to get his name back on the leaderboard, an opportunity to light fire to a pedestrian campaign like he did a year ago.

No pressure.

“It’s your basic stuff that sometimes gets off, that the harder you try to get them back on sometimes, the worse it gets,” Spieth said. “It can be frustrating, or you can just kind of wait for it to come to you. I think I’m OK with where things are, whether it’s the rest of this year or next year. I feel like there are good scores coming.”