Mediaite Column: Tiger’s Interview Charade Reveals More About “Sports Journalism”
By Stephanie Wei under General

I wrote a column over at Mediaite on Monday morning. Here are some excerpts:

Tiger Woods is a phony. Plain and simple. I’ve finally come to terms with it. Everything he says and does is a business move.

Let’s get some things straight — Woods’ five-minute interviews on Sunday with ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi and the Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman were just the next phase of the carefully planned PR charade to prepare for his return to golf at The Masters. But more important, it was another step to regain control of the situation.

While apparently there were no restrictions set on the questions, Rinaldi and Tilghman, who were hand-picked by Team Tiger, were confined to five minutes with Woods. (Tilghman shrewdly pushed her session to six minutes.) That’s right, five measly minutes. What a joke. At this point, five hours wouldn’t suffice.

So why did ESPN and the Golf Channel comply with Team Tiger’s demands? Because, well, what network in their right mind would actually turn down the first interviews with Tiger!? Actually, CBS would. And did. (Go figure, journalistic integrity still exists!)

On second thought, I’m thinking there has to be a catch. Perhaps CBS is working out the first extended sit-down with Tiger, where he chats with Jim Nantz on 60 Minutes. Also, I mentioned this before, but in the short time granted, Rinaldi and Tilghman both did an excellent job.

And finally, a friendly reminder and/or suggestion:

Do I care that he cheated? Not really. Sure, I’m disappointed, but he’s certainly not the first wealthy, successful man stepping out on his marriage, so color me five shades of not-so-shocked when the news broke. But what really bothers me is that I bought into the charade. Well, I’m done and I’m over this personality called Tiger Woods. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a fan of Tiger Woods, the golfer. I will still cheer for him on the course (maybe not as loudly). Hell, I’d love to see him win The Masters. But just because he’s apologized doesn’t mean we should reward him with a big fat gold star and regress to blind hero worship (like the fine commentators — with the exception of John Hawkins — on the Golf Channel already have). Nor does it mean people won’t continue pressing him for answers.

Let’s look forward to him returning to golf and to performing the heroics on the links. But let’s also not be too quick to forget he’s still a cad when he sinks a clutch 25-footer at Augusta next month.