by Jeff Skinner
Something revolutionary took place in golf yesterday. It wasn’t the fact that all four number one seeds have been dispatched from The Accenture Match Play Championship. It’s not the fact that John Daly shot a three under par and didn’t retire again. It’s not even the fact that Thongchai Saidee a twelve seed from Thailand advanced to play Jeev Milkha Singh a fifteen seed in the third round of The Match Play. While on a normal day any of those events would be shocking they pale in comparison to what the Golf Writers Association of America did last night.
The GWAA has announced that they will boycott the orchestrated Tiger Woods Media Event. The Board of directors has voted unanimously to boycott the event unless Tiger’s people open it up to all accredited media.
This is not an insignificant action. Tiger and his people have manipulated, bullied and abused the mainstream media for years. On a good day Woods has viewed the media as a necessary evil and on most days he just viewed them as evil.
The president of the GWAA, Vartan Kupelian said, “I cannot stress how strongly our board felt that this should be open to all media and also for the opportunity to question Woods.” The GWAA, which has over 950 members, will not send three pool reporters that it had agreed to earlier. The main wire services will still attend and there will be no shortage of television coverage as The Golf Channel, ESPN, ABC, CBS and NBC all plan to carry the event live.
Maybe this is the first sign to Woods and his agent, Mark Steinberg that it isn’t business as usual any longer. Whatever Woods wanted previously he always received and if he didn’t want something to happen, it never did. The boycott should be a signal to the Woods camp that the golf writers can’t be manipulated any further. Woods might have to act like a human being for awhile and maybe treat the writers like they are people also.
Commissioner Tim Finchem has looked terrible during this entire episode. He obviously talked to someone from Tiger’s camp and gave the go ahead for the TPC Sawgrass venue, but he says he hasn’t talked to Tiger. He says he does not know what Tiger will say today. Really Tim? So Tiger, or his people, call and ask to use your facility for what is the biggest story in golf, in sports really, and you don’t inquire as to the content of his statement. Sure, we buy that.
Overall Finchem has been a good commissioner and the players and the PGA Tour have done well under his reign, which happens to coincide with Tiger’s emergence as a television ratings machine. The fact that Finchem can say with a straight face that he has no knowledge of Tiger’s subject matter is farcical. Even from a distance it’s easy to see that when Tiger passes wind, Finchem gets a face full. Listen to him on the ESPN video. He mentions Tiger’s rehab and his rehab schedule. So he had to have some intimate knowledge of Tiger’s schedule but none of what he plans to say in his statement. Sorry Tim that just doesn’t sound like an executive that has a handle on his resources. It sounds like someone trying to protect his meal ticket and maybe save a little face at the same time.