Where does Woods go from here
In the wake of numerous published reports of alleged infidelity the world No. 1 relented in his own guarded way: “I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect.”
And for the third consecutive public statement Woods stressed how important his privacy is to himself and his family. In fact, of the five paragraphs Woods penned on Wednesday, three fixated on the issue of privacy and the actions of the media the last few days.
When it came to Woods’ situation with the Florida Highway Patrol and his Friday morning run in with a shrub, a hedge, a fire hydrant and, finally, a neighbor’s tree, there was a compelling public interest, just as there was two years ago when Arjun Atwal was in the wrong place at the wrong time on a central Florida road not far from Isleworth.
Whatever domestic issues Woods and his wife may or may not be having, however, are like Vegas – what happens at One Woods Place stays at One Woods Place. There is no unwritten right to all the juicy details of an athlete’s private life regardless of how zealously the entertainment press pursues or the public craves.
Yet, the questions remain: Where does Woods go from here? What is the best way to move on?
There is precedent for Woods’ crisis management conundrum, call it the mea culpa cameo. You know the drill, superstar gets sideways with the law or the wife or the league, takes his public relations lumps and next thing you know he’s on a couch next to Oprah spilling the goods and asking for forgiveness.
Kobe Bryant – who was charged with a crime, a far more appalling act than anything being lobbed at Woods’ reputation – did it, moved on and won his NBA Championship sans Shaq. Alex Rodriguez – who not only violated baseball’s doping rules but lied about it until he couldn’t lie about it anymore – did it and is now treated like he hung the moon in the Bronx.
Lost in all the “expert” crisis management chatter is the simple truth that contrition and winning are the ultimate tonics to what ails an image. Woods may want to remain behind the central Florida ivy and let his 316-word final word stand. He may want to cling to the ideal of privacy, but that yacht has sailed.
“His image will take a little hit,” said Steve Stricker, who spent more time paired with or against Woods this year than any other Tour player. “I’d like to see him come on TV and pour it out a little bit ... I’m on that line, that fence. Do we really need to know? That’s the bottom line.”
Do we need to know? Of course not. Will a well-executed and timely televised apology – combined with a rousing victory at, say, Torrey Pines next January – help smooth the transition out of crisis mode? Of course it will.
Some have criticized Camp Tiger since “Black Friday,” saying they didn’t move quick enough to gain the public relations higher ground. Those people don’t know Woods, who has won 14 major championships and 71 Tour titles doing things his way.
Rocky Hambric knows the feeling. Hambric, president of Hambric Sports Management, found himself in a similar situation at this year’s British Open when one of clients, Sandy Lyle, became embroiled in a very public spat with Colin Montgomerie.
“I took heat at the Open Championship for Sandy, there’s nothing you can do,” Hambric said. “The (Daily Mail) writer knew nothing about me or what I advised Sandy to do and still criticized my actions. Same as American writers don’t know anything about Tiger’s situation and keep criticizing Mark (Steinberg, Woods’ manager with IMG). In our situation you have to do the best you can within what the client wants you to do.”
So far it remains clear Woods wants to keep an in-house matter in-house, regardless of what a room full of well-meaning experts tell him. That’s worked for a decade through a series of minor scrapes with controversy, but this is different.
This is K2 to the mole hill that was Fuzzy Zoeller, a Sunday power walk to that triathlon that was that controversial GQ article. But with time, and a cameo on Oprah’s couch to expedite the process, he will recover. Just ask Kobe and A-Rod.
Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88
MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.
Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.
Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.
The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.
On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.
Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.
He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.
In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.
Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.
Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M
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.
Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout
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.
“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.”
Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break
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.