Analysis and debate continue to rage over Tiger's rapid-fire Q&As with ESPN and the Golf Channel, including why CBS declined an invitation to sit down—well, stand up—with Woods. In a lively "Shotgun Start" session, Steve Elling and Scott Michaux took on the topic, with this critique from Michaux …
As for CBS trying to wedge it into their five-star Sunday lineup of the NCAA tournament followed by 60 Minutes, it's hard to believe a news organization of that caliber couldn't make it happen. 60 Minutes has handled breaking news before, and given the one-day lead time, they surely could have packaged 12 minutes of background on this saga to lead into the five-minute Q&A as a segment on their broadcast. It is the best news show in TV history. They've dealt with deadline pressure before. No offense, but I say bad call.
I'm with Michaux. Wouldn't you have loved to see Mike Wallace go all Mike Wallace on Woods? And what's with CBS getting all holier-than-thou about its journalistic standards—i.e., refusing the interview because of the time restriction? Remember, this is the same network that banned its golf announcers from Tiger talk in the weeks leading up to Torrey Pines. "I've had my tongue surgically removed from any questions about Tiger," Gary McCord told SI's Farrell Evans in a February interview. "So I can't answer that." Muzzling McCord? We thought only Augusta National could do that. Arnie beefs up Bay Hill
Call it Bay Hell. Seems Arnold Palmer thought his place was getting too soft, so this week's field at the Bay Hill Invitational will find a newly renovated track that is fiercer than ever. USA Today's Steve DiMeglio has the details:
The biggest change on the scorecard is the restoration of par to 72 after three years of playing the course at par 70. For the first time since 2006, the fourth and 16th holes will play as par-5s.
Palmer, in his search for more pin placements, also had many of the greens' harshest slopes smoothed out. Some greens were enlarged, rebuilt or moved closer to bunkers and water hazards, as well.
"The course will play long, too, because the rough is up and the ground is soft because we had such a wet winter," says Robert Gamez, a Bay Hill resident who won here in 1990. "With the changes, this place is going to play a lot tougher."
Look at the bright side, Robert: No Tiger. Among those not scrambling for Masters tickets: Elin Woods Citing a "good source"—because, you know, no great ones were available—Bill Zwecker of the Chicago Sun-Times has some scoop on the state of Tiger and Elin's so-called reconciliation. It ain't pretty.
Along with having her lawyers continuing to draft divorce documents, Elin reportedly is planning to head back to Sweden for a visit with her family—joined by her children. "She wants to be out of the country when Tiger plays the Masters," said a good source Monday.
But wait, Zwecker's source has more:
• Elin believes Tiger is only giving lip service to his recovery. She's convinced he's still more worried about getting his golf career back on track than about Elin's feelings about their relationship.
• Tiger's wife also is furious about the ongoing revelations about his past indiscretions — and believes there are even more women still to come forward with stories, text messages, photos and even videos.
• Elin thinks Tiger is not as attentive to their two children, despite his claims his kids are so important to him.
No doubt if Tiger had given ESPN and the Golf Channel another five minutes, this would have all come out. Augusta National to name a sandwich after Nathan Smith Among the many perks awarded to Masters invitees: seemingly unlimited access to the course in the months before the tournament. Geoff Ogilvy played Augusta National a few weeks back, Tiger Woods played there on Monday, and amateur standout Nathan Smith, well, according to Larry Dorman of The New York Times, he's made the National his second home…
For all its well-deserved reputation as an ultra-exclusive bastion of power, Augusta National hosts many golfers who are hardly front-page news, even in their hometown newspapers. For example, Nathan Smith, well known in the tightly knit circles of amateur golf but little-known outside them, has already played numerous practice rounds this year. Smith, the reigning United States Mid-Amateur champion, will be playing his second Masters, which begins April 18. Before his first appearance in 2004 as the '03 Mid-Amateur champion, Smith said he had played some 20 practice rounds.
Twenty rounds? Hell, that's more than most members play. Cumulatively. Does Tiger's Foundation need to trim some fat? It's hard to knock a charitable foundation, especially one that doles out nearly $3 million a year in grants. But buried deep in an ESPN.com piece on the state of the Tiger Woods Foundation is this eye-opening nugget:
While charity watchdogs generally give the foundation high marks, some question the significant expenses incurred by the nonprofit in hosting these events. On its most recent tax return, the Tiger Woods Charity Event Corporation reported having spent $32.7 million staging the two golf tournaments — including $15 million in television network fees and tourney purses — and star-studded entertainment events like the Tiger Jam, while turning a $3.5 million profit.
"If you have a ratio of $32 million [expenses] and $3 million [profit], you are so upside-down it isn't funny," says Marc Pollick, founder and president of the Giving Back Fund, which manages and consults with philanthropic foundations. "What it is doing is paying a lot of salaries to event planners and to vendors and directors, and a little bit goes to charity."
McLaughlin defends the foundation's practices, saying its staging of the golf events follows the PGA Tour model, and that the AT&T and Chevron stops rank among the leading charitable events on the tour. According to the most recent federal tax filings, the event corporation transferred $2.95 million to Woods' foundation.
And then there's this:
The $503,138 compensation paid McLaughlin has also come under scrutiny by watchdogs. McLaughlin, a lawyer by trade, befriended Woods in 1992 when he gave the then-16-year-old golfer an exemption into his first PGA Tour event, the then-Nissan Los Angeles Open. At the time, McLaughlin was the tournament director in Los Angeles.
Inviting a 16-year-old phenom to your event? Brilliant. Abusing your power as PGA Tour commissioner by strongly encouraging tournaments to extend invitations to a fading 48-year-old with no Tour card? Harebrained.