Tiger Woods, Cover Boy


I checked into a nonsmoking room in an Atlanta hotel the other day, and there was a copy of Cigar Aficionado on a table, with Tiger Woods on the cover. I'm not a reader of the magazine, but I remember various cover shots, with Michael Jordan or Bill Murray, featuring, as you might expect, cigars. But other issues don't feature cigars, and this was one of them. I've never seen Tiger smoke a cigar -- have you? -- and the story had neither any quotes from Tiger nor any cigar talk. Tiger's father, Earl, was a heavy cigarette smoker who died of cancer. You could guess that he wouldn't be thrilled to be in it. The magazine for cigar buffs can of course publish whatever it likes -- it's a free country, right? -- but this cover struck me as odd.
In the same June issue, there's a story by the editor and publisher, Marvin R. Shanken, about playing in the Honda pro-am with Ernie Els. It ran with a picture featuring the Big Easy and his four Honda pro-am partners, Shanken with a cigar in hand. A note from him, and another editor, at the front of the magazine begins,  "Why Tiger? It's a good question. He's not a cigar smoker, unless chided into it by Michael Jordan on some remote corner of a very private course. But he is simply one of the greatest athletes ever to play any sport at any time in history."
Whatever. Ads for various cigar brands run before the Tiger piece, after it and within it. For Tiger, it's part of the price of being Tiger.

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by Kevin Cunningham