Phase two of the “Tiger Woods Comeback” was rolled out on Sunday evening with a pair of five-minute interviews with Woods on ESPN and The Golf Channel.
Tom Rinaldi and Kelly Tilghman (yes, the one who said Tiger should be lynched in a back alley in 2008) had free range with Woods, who allowed no restrictions on the questions.
So with no restrictions on the questions, you would expect to finally hear all the juicy details on what really happened on the night of Nov. 27 or his thoughts on the series of text messages that were released last week by alleged mistress Joslyn James, right? Not so much.
Woods deflected anything dealing with the accident or his relationship with his wife, Elin.
“Well, it’s all in the police report,” Woods told Rinaldi. “Beyond that everything’s between [wife] Elin and myself and that’s private. I was living a life of a lie, I really was. And I was doing a lot of things…that hurt a lot of people. And stripping away denial and rationalization you start coming to the truth of who you really are and that can be very ugly. But then again, when you face it and you start conquering it and you start living up to it, the strength that I feel now…I’ve never felt that type of strength.”
The follow-up questions from both networks, especially Tilghman and The Golf network, were a shank job (for lack of a better golf term) to say the least.
The public doesn’t want to know about the Buddhist bracelet that Woods was wearing on his wrist.
They want to know, in his own words, how Woods managed to crash his Cadillac Escalade into a tree.
They want to know exactly how many women Woods has slept with since his marriage to Elin in 2004. And they want to know if he secretly channels his inner R. Kelly in the bedroom. Even with everything that has gone on with Tiger’s image and reputation in the last four months, he still finds a way to manipulate the media.
Everyone except one outlet, that is.
CBS, who will broadcast The Masters in two weeks along with ESPN, declined the five-minute interview offer.
“Depending on the specifics, we are interested in an extended interview without any restrictions on CBS,” said CBS Sports spokeswoman LeslieAnne Wade. In other words, get back to us when you’re ready to sit down and answer actual questions from Jim Nantz, Tiger.
In a span of weeks, a one-on-one interview with Woods went from being the biggest get for any media outlet to getting rejected; something Tiger is not accustomed to based on the details that have unfolded regarding his personal life.
This wasn’t exactly what Woods had in mind when he started his calculated return to golf with a 13-minute apology to a group of friends, colleagues and the entire world on Feb. 19.
If he expects media consultant Ari Fleischer to bail him out, Woods can forget about that as well.
In an e-mail to the Associated Press, the former White House press secretary, who handled St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire’s steroid admission, decided to withdraw on Monday from working with Woods.
After years of not letting the media in, suddenly Woods needs the profession that he has shunned more than ever.