Torrey Pines 
Tour hooks up with closing-time partner for Torrey Pines tourney
Monday, January 18, 2010
By Joe Logan

With only a week left before show time, the PGA Tour announced Monday that they’ve finally landed a title sponsor for the Tour stop at Torrey Pines in San Diego: The Farmers Insurance Group of Companies.


Never mind what kind of discount rate The Farmers Exchange likely got; you can almost hear the Tour breathing a big sigh of relief for the tournament formerly known as the Buick Invitational.  Even with the economy as lousy as it is, for a proud and well-established tournament played on an ocean-side paradise, it looked extremely bad to go sponsor-less, even for a year.  As late as last week, the San Diego Union was reporting that it was "all but certain"  that for this year anyway, the tournament would simply be called the "San Diego Open."


As welcome has the last-minute news is for the Tour and the tournament, let’s face it: what we have here is the equivalent of 2 a.m. closing time at the singles bar.  Everyone suddenly starts to look better, even as the lights go up.


"We couldn’t be more pleased that Farmers Insurance has stepped forward..." began a statement from Commissioner Tim Finchem.  No word on whether he had his face buried in his hands when he said that.


Tom Worsnam, general chairman of the tournament, called Farmers "truly a knight in shining armor."


For now, the tournament will be called The Farmers Insurance Open and – hot diggity dog --there’s an option to extend the sponsorship.


Of course, after next week, in the morning light, let’s see if the Tour and the Farmers Exchange ask for each other’s phone numbers.

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If only it was still like it was
Thursday, January 7, 2010
By Joe Logan

How times have changed.


Wednesday night, A&E Biography rebroadcast it’s profile of Tiger Woods, which, given recent developments, is difficult to watch without laughing.


It spent 58 minutes recalling and marveling at the Tiger of Old – the super-human golfer (14 majors, 71 PGA Tour victories), and humanitarian  (Tiger Woods Foundation) and loving son, husband and father.  Oh, the days not so long ago, when all was still perfect in Tiger World. 


In the Biography profile, Tiger smiles his Chicklet-toothed smile, and we are treated to a career highlight reel of his 350-yard drives, his putts that can’t possibly go in the hole until they do, and the reaction of the awestruck sports fans.  Now that everyone is so disappointed and disgusted with Tiger, it’s enough to make you remember what the fuss is all about.


In the many interview clips of Tiger, he comes off as likeable, clean-cut, earnest, determined to become the greatest player in the history of the game.


In interview after interview, TV commentators (David Feherty, Lanny Wadkins, Mike Tirico), golf writers (Jaime Diaz, Tim Rosaforte), legends of the game (Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus), other incomparable athletes (Michael Jordan, Lance Armstrong, Wayne Gretzky), pals (Mark O’Meara, John Cook) and his agent (Mark Steinberg) kneel at the Alter of Tiger, as we all did.  They go on endlessly and profusely about Tiger’s incredible ability, his unmatched work ethic, his concentration, his dedication – all the things that made Tiger almost too perfect to be true. 


Of course, we now know that the Tiger we thought we knew didn’t really exist – the image he created was too perfect to be true. Even he couldn’t live up it.  His perfect world was not what it seemed.


It isn’t until the final couple of minutes of hour-long the Biography profile that they’ve inserted an updated account of his collapsing world.  They show the seamy tabloid covers, the now-familiar aerial shots of Tiger crash scene outside his house and a partial parade of his alleged mistresses.


When it was over, all I could do was sigh and shake my head.  What a shame.  What a damn shame.

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Don’t look for Tiger Woods at the AT&T Natonal Aronimink GC
Thursday, December 31, 2009
By Joe Logan

Even with Tiger Woods’ severely stained image, the announcement that he will play in the AT&T National over the July 4th weekend is great news for the tournament, Aronimink GC and sports fans in the area.


Say what you will about him as a husband, father and man, but Tiger is still the best golfer in the world and the biggest attraction in the game.  Without him, the AT&T would have been like throwing a party and having the guest of honor be a no-show.


With Tiger in, the buzz around the tournament will increase, ticket sales will get a good bump and whatever hospitality packages remain unsold will become a lot easier to sell.  Best of all, for the first time in his storied 14-year career. Philadelphia sports fans will finally be able to see him do what he does up close and personal.


If you’re wondering where Tiger will stay during the tournament, don’t expect him to occupy the Presidential Suite of a luxury hotel.  The talk is that he has already rented the home of an Aronimink member in the vicinity of the course.   That’s fairly common for Camp Tiger.


An unannounced visit to Aronimink by Tiger in the coming weeks is not out of the question.  So far as I can tell, he has never played the course, and he might like to sneak in a preview round or two.


Staff and members at Aronimink talk of only one previous visit by Tiger.  That was more than a year ago, shortly before the announcement that the AT&T was temporarily relocating to Aronimink for 2010 and 2011.


That, too, was unannounced, catching even Aronimink staff off guard.  Tiger and a staffer from the Tiger Woods Foundation, which runs the tournament, showed up at the Newtown Square club, took a tour of the course in a golf cart, then left as quietly as they arrived.

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Joe Logan[1/14/2010 7:34:16 AM]
It’s 2013
steve[1/14/2010 7:00:00 AM]
Well, there’s always the Open at Merion in 2014. I assume everything will have settled down by then!

Is it possible that I’m starting to feel sorry for Tiger?
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
By Joe Logan

Just when I thought Tiger Woods and by extension golf had taken the worst hits they could take, someone pointed out this story in the Los Angeles Times.


It was written by Dan Neil, the newspaper's Pulitzer Prize-winning automotive columnist who for some reason was weighing in on advertising, offering his advice to any sponsor having anything to do with golf.  To wit:


Sponsors, run.


It doesn't matter if you're backing Davis Love III or Ernie Els or Vijay Singh; save your money. Honda, Deutsche Bank, MasterCard, Shell, make a break for it. For the immediate future, the branding opportunities of professional golf have been utterly vacated by l'affair d'tigre. Tiger Woods was and is the sum and whole of the game. He was and is the purest, most unalloyed product of the sport and culture of golf. And when all that is golf was cooked in fate's crucible and poured down this young man's gullet, the result was the perfect player who hasn't breathed an honest breath in years, a jerk -- Joe Francis with a 400-yard drive. Tiger's failure is golf's summary bankruptcy and indictment.?


Camelot fell when Lancelot sinned against the realm. Same deal here.


Get out now, sponsors. The golf brand has been wrecked.?


Now, I am not an expert in advertising, or in branding, or in corporate imaging.  But I have been around the block once or twice, and I believe that Dan Neil's analysis of the situation is overwrought to the point of being apocalyptic. 


This whole Tiger Mess is indeed a mess.  But it doesn't spell the end of the PGA Tour and it certainly doesn't mean the end of golf as we know it.


For one thing, Dan Neil's assessment of the situation and of the state of the game make me think he is not a golfer nor is he a long-time golf fan.  To me, he comes off like some Johnny Come Lately to golf, one of the folks who did not know the game existed before Tiger and doesn't see how it can possibly survive once he retires.

You and I know different.


Tiger has brought a certain cache to the game, and he made it hip in some quarters where it wasn't before, and he has grown the TV ratings.  But Tiger is not all there is to golf. Watching him play is one thing; playing my own game is infinitely more enjoyable.  So, I'm willing to bet the game will manage to muddle through for another 400 years once Tiger is gone.


For another thing, if there is one thing we Americans like more than seeing the high and mighty get cut down a notch or three, it's seeing them admit the errors of their ways, grovel for forgiveness, then undertake the slow, uphill slog toward redemption.


Actually, this might be a good place to note that I am beginning to feel the stirrings of,  well, Tiger-Bashing Fatigue.


When the news of his truly reprehensible behavior first broke, I was as angry and disappointed as anybody.  As the mistresses multiplied, I became more and more incredulous.  How could he do this?  How could this guy be so duplicitous and untrue to the image of Mr. Perfect that he worked so hard to create?


But after three-plus weeks of relentless battering by the tabloid, gossip and mainstream media, I find myself almost feeling sorry for the guy.  What he did was rotten to the core, but he didn't kill anybody, he didn't steal from Little Sisters of the Poor, he didn't provide safe haven for Osama bin Laden and he didn't sell out his country.


Getting right with his wife is going to take some work, assuming she is even willing to give him a chance.  Good luck with that.


As for getting right with the rest of us, if and when he decides to come back, demonstrating a little humility and flawed humanity will go a long way.   If he will just lose the Superman Complex and remove all pretense that he is invincible, invulnerable and immune, Tiger can begin to win back his squandered support and good will.


The days of looking up to Tiger are over;  now, people just want to look him in the eye and trust what they are seeing.

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Steve[12/23/2009 6:44:52 PM]
I think most people would just like to see and hear from Tiger now. Where is he?

Commissioner Tim Finchem 
Not to get all doomy and gloomy
Friday, December 18, 2009
By Joe Logan

To listen to Tim Finchem during his annual end-of-the-season conference call with the media on Thursday, you'd think this whole Tiger Woods thing is nothing for golf to worry about.


"I think the doom and gloom needs to go away and frankly is misleading to our fans," said Finchem.


Surely, the commissioner must be looking at different polling data than the rest of us.  What I keep reading is that, in the history of polls, no public figure's popularity has fallen faster or further than Tiger's.


Not to be a doomy and gloomy, but as Tiger goes, so goes golf – at least PGA Tour golf on TV.


I don't believe for a minute that what is going on with Tiger will affect the number of rounds I play this coming year, or how many sleeves of balls I buy or whether I take a golf vacation.  But I do believe that what's going on with Tiger will affect the number of people who pull up a chair and watch a golf tournament.  (Hint: If Tiger's not in tournament, the number people watching drops precipitously).  And I do believe that what is going on with Tiger affects how sports fans and corporate America view the game.


If you ask me, Finchem is whistling past the graveyard.  Who knows what the commish is saying to the boys in the back room at PGA Tour HQ in Ponte Vedra, or whether the whole place is in full-blown panic mode.  But on the conference call, Finchem came off like cheerleader-in-chief, professing to be unconcerned that the star quarterback just got carried off the field on a stretcher.


You can't blame Finchem, really.  He has a league to promote and a product to sell.  We all know he's putting lipstick on this pig of a situation. 


If you listen closely, you can hear Phil Mickelson's stock going up.

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Steve[12/18/2009 3:17:19 PM]
To quote Alfred E. Newman, "What, me worry?"

Let Tiger’s redemption begin
Saturday, December 12, 2009
By Joe Logan

Will Tiger Woods be back?  Yeah.  The only thing America likes better than a juicy scandal is a good story of contrition and redemption followed by a return to glory.


Let's be honest here: Tiger didn't lose his golf game, he lost his bearings, his moral compass.


Who knows whether his wife can ever forgive him?  And despite what he says in his latest carefully-crafted statement, only Tiger knows whether deep down he truly wants to try to salvage the marriage and live out the perfect-world life so many of us figured he was already living.


Over the past couple of weeks, there has been no shortage of columns, blogs and bloviating to the effect that Tiger owes the public nothing – nothing other than the very best he can do on the golf course.  Beyond, they say, he can demand his privacy.


Legally, true. Realistically, bull.


Unless this scandal and hiatus do irreparable harm to his game, Tiger will go on to rewrite golf's record books, including eclipsing Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 majors.  But superior golf ability alone is not why Tiger is already one of the most famous athletes on the planet and arguably the richest. 


He has amassed his wealth not with his clubs alone but by creating one of the most respected, enviable images in the world – the priceless image of an unrivaled, clean-cut winner.  Without that wholesome image, Tiger makes Dennis Rodman money.  


So, if he can live with that, if he wants to return to golf and play out his career as a sullen guy wearing the black hat, refusing interviews, stalking away after every round of golf, then, yeah, he knows the public nothing.  But if Tiger wants to restore any semblance of his old life, he owes not just his wife but his fans an apology and a some kind of an explanation.


Just as his wife must now decide whether to find it in her heart to give him a second chance, so must his fans and the corporations that have financed his joyride .


This time around, no one is going to be quite as believing.

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What is Tiger thinking now?
Thursday, December 10, 2009
By Joe Logan

As we watch the slow-motion train wreck that Tiger Woods' life has become, I keep coming back to one question:  What is going through his mind now?


Is Woods, who is always such a picture of steely calm, control and determination on the golf course, curled up in the fetal position somewhere, moaning over the mess he has made of his life?


Or does he somehow fancy himself as something of a victim, as you might infer from some of the comments in the statement he released last week?


Judging from the stake-out reports from the tabloids, Tiger is not at his mansion in Isleworth, trying to repair the damage he has made of his marriage.  So, where is he?  Staying with friends?  Holed up in a suite in a posh hotel?  Has he taken refuge on his yacht, which he aptly named Privacy.


Have his buddies, like Mark O'Meara, John Cook, Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley, rallied around him, offering aid and comfort?


His prepared statement notwithstanding, is Tiger defiant and in the thick of plotting his own defense and return to glory.  If you want a sense of what is likely going on behind-the-scenes in Camp Tiger,  here is a story written by an veteran of PR crisis management.


The more this story reveals, the more it makes us all confront the reality that we never really people the way we think we do?  Having witnessed the self-control and self-denial required by Tiger to get to where he got in golf, it is almost inconceivable to see that he had little or no self-control in other, equally-important, areas of his life.


It's not difficult to imagine the sense of hurt and betrayal felt by his wife, Elin, but what about his mom, Tida?  For such a strong and proud woman, the profound sense of shock and shame feels must be unfathomable.  And were he still alive, how would Tiger's father, Earl, being handling this?  He predicted that Tiger's fame and his right to privacy would eventually come into conflict, but could he have imagined this in his wildest nightmares?


It is also impossible not to wonder how Tiger, who has had 13 years to learn to live with his ever-increasing level of wealth and celebrity, could possibly have been so naive as to wander so lustfully and so afar, leaving a telltale trail of text messages and voice mails in his wake.  Judging from his reckless behavior toward the end, it's almost as he wanted to get found out.


Wherever he is, is it possible that Tiger believes he can return to his old life, that he has the charm, the golf game and the goodwill of fans to make this all go away?


In other words, can he make us more or less forget, like Kobe did; or is his image forever in tatters, like O.J.'s?

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Steve[12/10/2009 12:46:26 PM]
His image will be zero when the porn movie is released.
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