Rumors: Tiger's coming out party decided by polling data

The politics of timingThe golfing (and Tweeting) world was slightly taken aback by Tiger Woods' sudden resurgence into the public eye over the past month. Most of us assumed that it was simply Tiger's way of "getting out in front" of stories relating to the one-year anniversary of his accident (and everything that followed), but in a great one-on-one interview with IMG Senior VP (and main TW handler) Mark Steinberg, CNBC's Darren Rovell may have uncovered a much more interesting subplot.

Steinberg:...The thing was, I wasn't just going to pick a date and decide that that would be the date that we'd engage in the marketplace and seek new sponsors. It had to really be the right time and four weeks ago, we knew it was the right time. That's when we started talking business again. Darren: How did you know it was the right time? Steinberg: We commissioned a study that involved polling of a certain target demographic. Darren: So it was, in a way, scientific, not necessarily about the year anniversary of the events. Steinberg: Right. Darren: Yet, Tiger does the Mike & Mike interview on ESPN Radio and pens the column for Newsweek and he's criticized for trying to get ahead of the story. Your reaction to that negative reaction? Steinberg: He got chastised for not talking and not connecting to the public and then he does what he does and that's not good enough either. I don't think the public has been as hard on him as the media has.
Maybe I'm being too hard on Woods (and it's clear that Steinberg thinks I am), but for some reason the idea of him using polling data in order to decide when to reconnect with his fans and potential sponsors makes me even more cynical about his sincerity. The good news for Woods is that if he ever wants to run for public office, he's already half way there: He's got an embarrassing personal scandal in his past, a bulging war chest and a polling company at his fingertips. And the nominees are...With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the PGA Tour is starting to wrap up its year-end awards. With that in mind, the Tour has announced the nominees for this year's Jack Nicklaus Trophy, which goes to the Tour Player of the Year:
Players were nominated by the PGA TOUR Player Advisory Council (PAC) and Player Directors. The awards are determined by a member vote, with PGA TOUR members who played in at least 15 official money events in 2010 eligible to vote.
The winner will be announced on Saturday, Dec. 4.
And the nominees are:
Ernie Els Jim Furyk Dustin Johnson Matt Kuchar Phil Mickelson
You would have to figure that in a relatively down year, Mickelson will have a bit of an edge just based his sentimental Masters win, with Dustin Johnson getting quite a few pity votes for his close calls in the U.S. Open and PGA Championship. If I had a vote, though, it would go to Kuchar, who was absolutely awesome this year, leading the Tour in top-10s en route to the scoring and money titles. The most amazing part of this story is that NONE of these guys has ever won Player of the Year before. So there are at least five people in the world that are happy Tiger finally had a down year. Basketball Jones?NBA Legend and golf-lover Michael Jordan went out on a limb when he led a team of investors to buy the Charlotte Bobcats earlier this year, but, according to Golf World's Adam Schupak, he might be getting some company from old friend Fred Couples:
Read a pretty good feature on Michael Jordan in a recent issue of Sports Business Journal. But the buried lede – to this golf geek anyway – had more to do with the man known for going spikeless than his Air Jordans. The piece speculated that the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats could be amassing more celebrity star power in its ownership group. First Jordan bought the franchise in March for a reported $275 million. Now comes word in SBJ that Fred Couples, who relocated to Charlotte this summer, recently bought a pair of courtside seats across from the Bobcats bench and said he is also interested in “buying a small stake in the team.”
I think Couples has the makings to be a great minority owner for a sports team. Not only does he bring name recognition (and presumably plenty of dough) to the table, but he's got to be one of the most laid back guys on the planet--it's hard to see him making waves at the shareholders meetings. Still, you have to wonder if this is just Fred's way of getting more time with Jordan on the golf course; if he tees it up enough with golf's most notorious gambler, there's a good chance Couples will make back his investment even if the team flops. War, what is it good for?Closing thoughts in the form of a tweet from Jeju-do native Y.E. Yang, responding to yesterday's violent altercation between North and South Korea:
Hopes and prayers go out to everyone in Korea and yeonpyung war, peace please.
Couldn't have said it better myself.

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by Kevin Cunningham