Golfweek magazine’s latest cover, a stark image of a noose, was the introduction to its coverage of golf’s most recent controversy involving race, but the image has landed the publication in hot water with Tim Finchem, the commissioner of the PGA Tour.
The magazine’s cover story ran with the headline “Caught in a Noose?” and was about the now infamous “lynch” remark made by Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman during the network’s broadcast of the Mercedes Championship two weeks ago.
“Clearly, what Kelly said was inappropriate and unfortunate, and she obviously regrets her choice of words,” Finchem told USA Today. “But we consider Golfweek’s imagery of a swinging noose on its cover to be outrageous and irresponsible. It smacks of tabloid journalism. It was a naked attempt to inflame and keep alive an incident that was heading to an appropriate conclusion.”
The controversy began during the Golf Channel’s broadcast on Jan. 4 when analyst Nick Faldo joked that the young players of the PGA Tour may have to gang up on Tiger Woods to compete with him. His co-anchor, Kelly Tilghman, agreed and suggested with a laugh that Tiger’s young rivals “lynch him in a back alley.”
Tilghman later apologized on the air and directly to Woods. Mark Steinberg, Woods’s agent at IMG, dismissed the incident, saying that Woods and Tilghman were friends and the comment was not malicious. Still, the network suspended Tilghman for two weeks after the controversy became a story outside the golf world and the Rev. Al Sharpton called for her dismissal.
Tilghman became golf’s first female anchor last year when the PGA Tour signed a 15-year deal in which Golf Channel broadcasts the first three events of the year, weekday coverage of all Tour events, and full coverage of the Fall Series and opposite-field events. She played golf at Duke, graduating in 1991, and played professionally in Australia, Europe and Asia from 1992-96.