The Tiger blacklash has officially begun
Monday, November 30, 2009
By Joe Logan

Tiger Woods might be stubborn and he might be arrogant, but he is not stupid.  Which makes it all the more dumbfounding what he is doing right now.


It’s one thing to cheat on your wife and make an ass of yourself doing it.  Whether it happened in this case, I have no idea.  But, hey, it happens -- it happens to ordinary people, big-time politicians, movie stars and rich, famous athletes.  The one constant is our demonstrated capacity to forgive and forget.


What people will not forgive and forget, however, is what Tiger seems to be doing now – thumbing his nose at the Florida cops, refusing to cooperate with their investigation, essentially telling them to read what he’s got to say on his website, like everybody else.


Bad, bad move.  His slick, high-priced lawyer might be advising Tiger that he has the legal right to do that, but he is doing himself a world of PR damage in the process, smearing his carefully constructed clean image.


When it comes to crisis management, PR consultants never waver in their advice: Get the bad news out there and out there quick, take your lumps, then move on.


In other words, make your screw-up a one-day or two-day story, whatever it is.  DO NOT let it play out like a slow-motion train wreck in the blood-thirsty, ravenous, circus-like media environment we live in these days.  Hey, they’ve time and space to fill and they will – with you or without you.


What Tiger is doing now makes him come off like he thinks he is above the law, answerable to no one -- not even to the cops -- immune to criticism and able to live quite comfortably, thank you, in the gilded cocoon he has constructed for himself.


Four days into this PR fiasco of his own making we are beginning to see a backlash, certainly in the general media, and now even among sports columnists, who in the past mostly heaved bouquets in Tiger’s direction.  Take a look here, here and especially here, a delicious screed in which Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post accuses him of acting like some kind of separate nation state, like the Vatican.   Of course, the longer Tiger stonewalls, the worse it will get.


In some ways, this backlash is not surprising.   From the earliest days of his career, Tiger let it be known that commanding respect and fear meant more to him than popularity.  Let Phil Mickelson be popular.


The result, as Tiger is now finding out, is that while we are all in awe of him and his golfing abilities, he hasn’t built up a reservoir of affection and goodwill. 


How ironic that in the brief statement Tiger did release, he felt the need to point out that he is not perfect.  Really?  Isn’t that precisely the image he has worked so hard to project for these years?


Personally, I hope this imbroglio does not turn out to be the undoing of Tiger.  He is a once-in-a-lifetime talent and not a bad guy at all who has a lot more career ahead of him.  Wouldn’t it be nice if he came to his senses, did the right thing, then got back to the business of rewriting golf’s record books.


Anyway, whatever he’s done, we’ll forgive.  We always do.





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Rachel Uchitel, alleged mistress 
Tiger, good luck putting this genie back in the bottle
Saturday, November 28, 2009
By Joe Logan

So let me get this straight:  Only hours after the National Enquirer hits the grocery store checkout lines with a story alleging that Tiger Woods is running around on his wife, one of the most coordinated athletes in the history of sports crashes his SUV into a fire hydrant leaving his house, then plows into a tree in his next door neighbor’s yard – at low speed, alcohol not a factor. 


At 2:25 a.m., in the wee hours after Thanksgiving.


And his wife, Elin, is not far behind – with a golf club in her hand.


Is it just me or do you also believe the charmed life if the No. 1 golfer in the world is about to get less charmed?


I know, I know, over the coming days Tiger and his small, smart circle of advisors are going to do everything possible to smooth over this little, shall we say, bump in the super highway that has his life to date.


They will likely offer explanations for everything -- explanations that many of us will want to believe about the heretofore squeaky clean former nerd.   But um, ah, good luck trying to put this leggy and sultry genie back in the bottle, Tiger.


Already, of course, the gossipy celebrity-oriented websites (and even mainstream media outlets) are howling with all kinds of reports:  That Elin confronted Tiger about the story in the National Enquirer; that she, not the crash, caused the scratches and lacerations on his face; that Tiger was essentially fleeing the house when Elin came out swinging the golf club, trying to tee up her husband.


Plausible, all of it.


As it happens, on Thanksgiving Day, when I stumbled across the first whiff of the  National Enquirer story on the internet, I drove straight to the nearest grocery store and bought a copy.  Headlined "Tiger Woods Cheating Scandal," the story is stripped across the top of the tabloid.


Inside, in a two-page spread, the Enquirer identifies the alleged mistress Rachel Uchitel, who it describes as a 34-year-old "New York party girl" with a "reputation for dating married celebrities."


The Enquirer reports that Uchitel, who works as an events planner, was previously involved with  "Bones" star David Boreanaz during his wife’s pregnancy but that she ended the relationship in August.  By then, said the Enquirer, Uchitel was already bragging to her friends that she was involved with Tiger.


The tabloid quotes a supposed friend of the mistress’, Ashley Samson, as saying Uchitel told her she met Tiger in May at a club in New York where she was working.  She gave him her phone number and, by June, she told Samson, "Tiger Woods is blowing up my cell phone with messages."


The most damaging accusations in the story come for Samson and another supposed friend of Uchitel, who the Enquirer says both passed lie detector tests.   Here are pertinent excerpts from the story:


"I’m sure Tiger thinks Rachel is staying quiet about their affair, but she’s told lots of people," Ashley Samson – a close friend of Rachel who passed a polygraph test – told The ENQUIRER.


"Rachel told me,’ I’m having an affair with Tiger Woods.  We’re in love!"


"I’ve heard him while she was talking to him, and recognized his voice.  They kept saying stuff like, ÔI miss you so much! I love you."


"The first time I heard about Tiger from Rachel was when she got a phone call and said, "Oh, it’s Tiger.  I’ve got to take this." I asked, "Tiger?" She said, "Tiger Woods."


The Enquirer reports that when Tiger recently played in (and won) the Australian Masters, Uchitel also turned up in Melbourne at the same time and checked into the same posh hotel in which the golfer was staying.  The tabloid presents a photo that it says is Uchitel checking into the hotel, but it’s too grainy to say for sure whether it is her or not.


When confronted, reports the Enquirer, Uchitel insisted she was in Melbourne on business, that she was there with her boyfriend, and denied carrying on an affair with Tiger.  Later, the tabloid said, she changed her story about traveling with a boyfriend but said she was in town on business.


The tabloid said Tiger’s attorney also "vehemently denied the affair."


Later, the Enquirer reported, Uchitel told friends, "It was a nightmare!  The Enquirer followed me to Australia, and I only got to spend one day with Tiger..."


In the hours since Tiger’s accident, several reporters have reached Uchitel for further comment.  She has again denied any affair with Tiger.  She also said Samson is not a friend but a woman she has barely knows, who was paid $25,000 by the tabloid.


You buying any of this? 


All I know is that I can’t wait for Tiger’s next press conference.



















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Steve[11/30/2009 12:23:28 PM]
Slim and none. Slim just left town. He will be a no show.He claims "headaches." He will have them for a long time to come.
Steve[11/29/2009 6:15:59 PM]
And I thought Tiger was leaving the house at 2:25am to go to Best Buy and wait in line so he could get a new laptop at a bargain price. In light of his statement today on his website and his not talking to police, which by the way he is not required to do,what are the odds that he’ll show up in LA and play in his tournament next week?

The hard lessons Stu Ingraham has learned at Q-School
Thursday, November 19, 2009
By Joe Logan

For Stu Ingraham, the dream of making the Champions Tour next season has given way to reality.


Despite his best efforts at Q-School, currently underway in Scottsdale, Ariz., a Top 5 finish and a full exemption for 2010 is not going to happen, nor will there be "conditional" status for finishing between 6th and 12th in the field of 78.


Tied for 40th through three of four rounds, at best, if he shoots 66 or 67 in Friday’s fourth and final round, he’ll crack the Top 30, meaning he can Monday qualify for Champions Tour events.  It’s not what the six-time Player of the Year in the Philadelphia PGA Section had hoped for but, as he said yesterday, "I didn’t embarrass myself."


Full leaderboard here.


Ingraham, former longtime head pro at Overbrook Golf Club who now teaches at M Golf Range in Newtown Square, got off to a good start this week.  In a field full of graying PGA Tour pros gunning for a new leases of life, Ingraham shot 2-under 69 in his first round at TPC Scottsdale’s Champions Course, tying him for 23rd.


His downfall was the second round, when he shot 3-over 74 and more or less had a meltdown after a ruling by a rules official that he believed was dead wrong and damaging to his chances.


It came at the 10th hole, when his approach shot plugged in its own pitch mark above a bunker – or at least he thought it did.  Before dislodging the ball, Ingraham consulted his playing partner, who wasn’t so sure it was plugged.


They called over a rules official, who also wasn’t convinced the ball was plugged in its own pitch mark.


"I said, "Oh, I get it, my last name is Ingraham, it’s not Curt Byrum or Wayne Grady," he said, naming a couple of Tour pros in the field.  "I was so mad, I couldn’t see straight.  So, now I chunk it, make 5 there, bogey the next hole and lose a ball on 13."


After a night’s rest to cool off, and despite a balky putter the next day, Ingraham managed to shoot 2-under 69 again Thursday, for a 1-under total through three rounds.  But it’s too little, too late.


Still three months shy of his 50th birthday, the obvious question is what Ingraham learned this week that might serve him well in a second run at the Champions Tour next year.


"What I have learned is that when I’m playing good, I am as good as them," he said. "I hit it farther.  But when I struggle with my putter, or when I hit a couple of bad shots, I tend to not score, where they grind it out.


"They’ll  shoot even par or even 2-under when they aren’t doing anything special, where I might shoot 2- or 3-over.  You can’t do that.  That’s what I’ve learned."


Post Script: Ingraham shot 74 in the final round, finishing tied for 46th.









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Would a little candor kill you, Tiger?
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
By Joe Logan

When I read my colleague John Huggan’s screed (see Featured Stories) about Tiger Woods’ lackluster performance in the interview room at the Australian Masters, I laughed out loud.


I agree totally with Huggan, a blunt-spoken Scot.  Sometimes, it’s almost as if Tiger wants to be a bore bordering on boorish.


With a golf club in his hand, Tiger is the best, now or ever.  You’ll get no argument here.   He’s an artist, a magician, a golfing Hercules -- and the hardest-working man I’ve ever seen.


But put a microphone in his hand, or a camera in front of him, and this man of steel too often morphs into a mealy-mouthed muttonhead.  


I cannot tell you how many times over the years I have walked out of a Tiger press conference shaking my head, trying to think of something he said – anything – worth quoting.  The guy can shoot a 64 that is a work of art to seize the lead in a major championship, only to put you to sleep describing it in his post-round press conference.


And that’s on the easy stuff!  Try to pin him down on a truly controversial issue or topic – race, politics or, say, whether he thinks Augusta National Golf Club should admit a woman member and this tiger becomes a lamb.


Contrast that to the closest thing he has to a rival these days, Phil Mickelson. Phil is as bold with a microphone in his hand as he is with a wedge.  He’s smart, quick with a one-liner and he fears no topic.  Ask Phil the tough question, then get ready to take notes.  Best of all, Phil is willing to show you he’s human, whether its talking about his wife’s breast cancer or his often futile efforts to tame Tiger.  That’s part of what makes Phil such an appealing character and fan favorite.


Not Tiger. He’s super-human on the golf course and almost too perfect off it.  Mr. Invulnerable.  Personal stuff?  Don’t bother asking, because you won’t get much.  He is the master of speaking for 20 minutes and revealing nothing.


Of course, from Tiger’s perspective, why should he say or do anything remotely controversial?  To do so would only potentially jeopardize the open spigot of money that pours in from his corporate sponsors -- more than $100 million a year.  But would it kill him to be a little colorful or off-the-cuff?


As Huggan noted, Tiger’s lack of candor and lack of effort wouldn’t be so frustrating if he was just some dumb jock.  But he is not.  He’s quite bright.  He was always an outstanding student, including the two years he spent at Stanford before turning pro.


And if you hang around the golf circuit long enough, you get to see glimpses of Tiger in a more relaxed mode --- enough to know that he does indeed have insights into and fully-formed opinions about things, even if he won’t share them.  He’s nobody’s fool.


He adopted the zipped-lip policy, if you will recall, in the wake of a story in Esquire magazine soon after he turned pro.  The youthful  Tiger told a few off-color jokes, which turned up in the story.  The writer wanted to show that Tiger did indeed have a lighter side; Tiger was more concerned with guarding his image.


Shocked, and apparently feeling betrayed, Tiger learned his lesson.  Never again.  Since then, no more hanging-out-with-Tiger stories.  He does formal press conferences during which he is cordial, if guarded, and never controversial.


That’s not to say there isn’t the occasional lapse or misstep, mainly because Tiger is always "on."  Remember a few weeks ago, at the first of the FedEx Cup playoffs, the Barclays at Liberty National Golf Club in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty?

More than a few of the players made snarky comments about the course, which was designed by former U.S. Open champion Tom Kite.  Tiger was no exception, although his criticisms were not made publicly but rather in a off-the-cuff remarks during to a business executive during the pro-am.


"Maybe Tom did this course before his eye operation," Tiger reportedly joked, referring to Kite’s laser surgery.


When the executive blabbed to the media, Tiger’s joke that was the most cited quote all week.  Everybody loved it.   Everybody except Tiger. 





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Phillies (and Philly) win 
World Series of Golf: Philly vs. NYC
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
By Joe Logan

I was on the phone with my buddy Jeff Silverman this morning when the conversation suddenly turned to one of the stories currently featured on MyPhillyGolf – namely, Links magazine’s World Series of Golf: Philly vs. New York City.


"Totally bogus comparison," sniffed Silverman, who grew up on Long Island but has lived in Chadds Ford for years.


Agreed.  For one thing, where does Links magazine even get off counting Shinnecock Hills or National Golf Links as New York City courses?  They are both so far out on the tip of Long Island, they shouldn’t count.


For that matter, since when is Galloway National, hard by the South Jersey shore, a Philadelphia course?  The South Jersey Shore is a whole separate world of golf.


Another beef.  In its match-ups, why would Links compare an A.W. Tillinghast classic like Quaker Ridge to a modern Tom Fazio layout like Galloway, giving the edge to Quaker Ridge?  That’s comparing apples and oranges?  For a more apt comparison, how about Quaker Ridge vs. another Tillinghast classic, say, Philadelphia Cricket?  Silverman and I agree that’s a draw.


You want more?  If Links is going to call Shinnecock Hills and National Golf Links New York City courses, how about Philadelphia gets to include Saucon Valley in Bethlehem, a  Top 100 course in on everybody’s list, and Lancaster Country Club, a William Flynn gem that’s also a frequent Top 100 course?  Either of those courses would fare well in any comparisons to Baltusrol, Quaker Ridge or Somerset Hills.


Come to think of it, if Links is going to put Shinnecock Hills and National Golf Links in the NYC orbit, why not call Somerset Hills a Philadelphia course?  Somerset Hills, after all, is closer to Philadelphia City Hall (75.2 miles) than Shinnecock Hills is to New York’s City Hall (91.5 miles).


Like we said, it’s a bogus comparison.







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Could ShopRite LPGA Classic return?
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
By Joe Logan

On the day that the LPGA named marketing executive Michael Whan as its new commissioner, I happened to be chatting up a very plugged-in source down at the Jersey Shore.


Any stirrings about bringing back the late, great ShopRite LPGA Classic, a fan favorite 21 years until it died in 2006, I wondered?


As a matter of fact, he said, "It’s within the realm of possibility."


According to my source, nothing is close to being signed, sealed or delivered, but there are ongoing conversations about possibly bringing back the ShopRite.  He said that Seaview Marriott, the ShopRite’s final venue, is apparently willing and able; and ShopRite, which is now a secondary presenting sponsor of the Sybase Classic outside New York City, has been approached and is listening.


If the ShopRite is revived, it would be without Larry and Ruth Harrison, who ran it for years.  They have moved on, as have their old tournament staffers.  This is new blood that is trying to rejuvenate the ShopRite Classic.


All of this should come as good news to Whan, the incoming commissioner.  After the dreadful four-year reign of Carolyn Bivens—she killed the old ShopRite, by the way – Whan is being handed a tournament schedule for 2010 that has fewer than 20 events under contract. 


The situation is so bad for the LPGA that one recent story in a prominent golf magazine reported that an alarming number of players are exploring opportunities on other tours, such as in Japan. 


Again, bringing back the ShopRite is only preliminary discussions, but at least there are discussions.  Details as they develop.










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Limbaugh with phallic cigar 
Please, leave golf out of this.
Monday, October 26, 2009
By Joe Logan

The biggest non-story of the day, maybe the week, was splashed across the bottom half of the New York Times on Sunday, in a box no less.


Under a two-column headline that read: "Man’s World at White House?  No Harm, No Foul, Aides Say," accompanied by a photo of President Obama taking a jumper in a pick-up basketball game, the Times proceeded to foist upon the reading public the following complaint:


Our athletic, sports-crazy president has failed to include a woman in either his "high-level" regular hoops games or any of the 23 rounds of golf he has played since taking office nine months ago.


There is nothing I hate more than reading a story that makes me set aside a newspaper and say to myself, "So this is why people hate the media..."  But I did just that yesterday reading that piece.


Of all the things that President Obama and we citizens have to worry about – you don’t need me to review the list here – the failure to include women in White House basketball games or his occasional foursome is not one of them.


Ironically, this criticism of Obama comes not from the far right, which hammers him on plenty of other matters, but rather from what the Times said were "women’s advocates and liberal bloggers."


Aside from stewing in my own juices that some people actually worry about this kind of stuff, and that the Times saw fit give to give it credence by giving it prominent front page play, I resent seeing golf dragged into this quagmire of petty political correctness/incorrectness.


Golf didn’t do anything wrong.  Once again, our beloved game has been made to look bad by association, like when snooty country clubs snub potential members because they are of a certain race, creed, gender or religion.  Or when we see that repugnant photo of addicted golfer Rush Limbaugh sucking on that enormous phallic cigar.  Or when some yahoo marches confidently to the first tee dressed in bright yellow knickers, a black and yellow striped cashmere sweater and a black Ben Hogan cap, completely unaware that he looks like a bumble bee, not a golfer, and that he is an embarrassment to the game.


Please, leave golf out of this.







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