Between joining Twitter and writing a mea culpa in Newsweek, Tiger Woods has found himself once again front-and-center in the media. (It feels like November 2009 all over again … with better PR!) The golfer, who has spoke measuredly about his sex scandal in press conferences — for the uninitiated, he admitted to having affairs outside his marriage to Elin Nordegren, who he has since divorced — opted to write about his troubles in a Newsweek article titled “How I’ve Redefined Victory.” Writes Woods in the piece: “Last November, everything I thought I knew about myself changed abruptly, and what others perceived about me shifted, too. I had been conducting my personal life in an artificial way — as if detached from the values my upbringing had taught, and I should have embraced. The physical pain from that car accident has long healed. But the pain in my soul is complex and unsettling; it has been far more difficult to ease — and to understand. But this much is obvious now: My life was out of balance, and my priorities were out of order … Golf is a self-centered game, in ways good and bad. So much depends on one’s own abilities. But for me, that self-reliance made me think I could tackle the world by myself. It made me think that if I was successful in gold, then I was invincible. Now I know that, no matter how tough or strong we are, we all need to rely on others.” Click here to read the rest of the text.
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Jim Carrey, who received criticism for comments he made via Twitter about the Tiger Woods infidelity scandal, issued a statement in response to the flap. Carrey drew fire for suggesting that Woods’ wife, Elin Nordegren, must have been aware of and condoned his extramarital affairs (“No wife is blind enough to miss that much infidelity… Elin had 2 b a willing participant on the ride 4 whatever reason. kids/lifestyle ;^”). In a statement issued through his representative, Carrey said, “To anyone whose grievances have chosen me as their cause, I would say first, that I recognize that tendency in myself, but if you knew me well, you’d see that your resentment has been misplaced. I wish every human being nothing but love and immeasurable happiness. Now, I’m going to re-enter the Twitter stream and see if there is anyone left to offend!” The actor has received a great deal of attention in recent weeks, both positive and not, for using Twitter to comment on his breakup with Jenny McCarthy and make a crack about being “sexually assaulted” by Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
In the end, Tiger Woods didn’t win the 2010 Masters Tournament, instead tying for fourth place. (Phil Mickelson came in first, winning his third green jacket.) So what’s next for Woods after his big return to golf? In a short interview with golf analyst Peter Kostis after he finished, Woods said that he’d be taking some time off to “evaluate things” before making his next career decision.
EA Sports denied rumors today that the company was seeking legal action against South Park for a recent episode that contained reference to Tiger Woods PGA Golf 10, one of the company’s major games. “The reports that EA Sports plans to sue the creators of South Park are completely false,” a rep tells EW.
he’d be returning to professional golf on April 8 for the Masters tournament in Augusta, Ga., speculation immediately began: What does this mean for one of golf’s biggest events? Will ratings spike? Will the production of the live coverage change? Should the town of Augusta expect a bigger media frenzy than usual? EW dug in to find out what exact the impact will be for the tournament, Tiger, and Augusta.When Tiger Woods announced yesterday that
RATINGS: CBS News and Sports president Sean McManus, whose network is airing the tournament on April 10 and 11, certainly has high hopes for viewership: “I think the first tournament Tiger Woods plays again, wherever it is, will be the biggest media event other than the Obama inauguration in the past 10 or 15 years,” McManus told a Sports Illustrated reporter just two days before the news of Woods’ return was revealed. “When you look at the fact that he gave a very simple press statement with no questions and every broadcast and cable news network in America carried it with great interest, I think that is an indication that whatever he does has enormous interest.”
The truth is that even without a scandal, Woods was already golf’s biggest draw, and having him near the top of the leader board during the home stretch of a tournament makes a big difference in terms of viewership. The Masters captured their biggest numbers in 2001, when 15 million viewers tuned in to watch Woods win his second of four green jackets. Likewise, the 2003 Masters tournament, when Woods finished in 15th place, drew just 9.5 million viewers, the tournament’s lowest viewership in the past decade. And it isn’t just the Masters. The three highest-rated U.S. Open airings on NBC in the past 10 years were when Woods walked away with the top prize, and both the highest-rated U.S. Open and PGA Championship came during years that Woods won.
“It’s going to bring a lot of people who don’t usually watch golf to the television set,” says Larry Novenstern, an independent media consultant, of the upcoming Masters. “The Masters is the pinnacle of golf, but when you combine that with all of the fodder that has surrounded Tiger over the past months, you’re looking at a huge event.”
The ratings spikes, of course, hinge on whether Woods makes it to the weekend. (The first two days of the tournament, on April 8 and 9, are qualifying rounds that air on ESPN, which could also experience a nice boost in viewership.) “If Tiger is in the hunt,” says Dick Friedman, a senior editor for Sports Illustrated, “then you could be talking numbers that approximate those for an NFL playoff game. Which would be staggering for this sport.”
So does that mean CBS will be raking in lots of additional advertising dough? Not necessarily. The Masters coverage comes with very strict rules that stipulate a limited number of commercials, which were, of course, sold well in advance of the news about Woods’ return. So what’s in it for CBS? First off, it looks good to have increased viewership, which has been quite the trend with live, watercooler events lately. And, of course, “The network still gets excited because it gives them a huge platform,” Novenstern continues. “There’s a little promotional time in there, so they can promote some of their other stuff, whether that be sports or entertainment programming.”
LIVE COVERAGE: According to a spokesperson at CBS Sports, the network “plans to cover the Masters as it does every other year.” Masters coverage has always been dignified, so it’s unlikely CBS will produce a racy featurette focusing on Woods’ scandal. “The Masters is arguably the most cherished property in TV sports, and the networks have to tread the sacred turf softly,” Friedman says. “The green-jacketed folks at Augusta monitor every remark assiduously. The anchors and analysts have to be not merely respectful; they have to reverential. Accordingly, expect them to limit their comments firmly to Tiger’s on-course performance.”
But truly, a win by Woods has big implications. “If he wins,” Friedman says, “that post-round interview — traditionally as dynamic as watching the grass grow on the 18th fairway — and green-jacket ceremony will be must-see, even for non-golf fans.” If that happens, whatever Woods says will likely be covered and spun by every news network and entertainment- and celebrity-focused program.
LIFE IN AUGUSTA: A different crowd certainly may be descending on Augusta, Ga., for this year’s Masters. TMZ reports that tickets sold through brokers skyrocketed $500 in one day to $2,400 since the news of Woods’ participation. But the Masters has been a big deal and the event of the year in Augusta for decades. “It has been sold out every year since the ’60s or ’70s,” says Barry White, the president and CEO of the Augusta Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The number of people attending the event is not expected to change this year.”
But, White adds, “Based on the many media inquiries we’ve received since the announcement, Augusta certainly expects more ‘buzz’ leading up to and during the Tournament this year.” While no media is allowed on the greens at the Masters, and a finite number of tickets have already been sold, there’s no doubt that this year Augusta will be rife with interested parties ranging from gossip reporters and fans who’d never watched golf before but want to be near Woods’ first foray back into golf — and life in the public eye.
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Tiger Woods announced that he will make his return to professional golf at the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga. on April 8. In a statement posted on his website, Woods explained that, “After a long and necessary time away from the game, I feel like I’m ready to start my season at Augusta. The major championships have always been a special focus in my career and, as a professional, I think Augusta is where I need to be.”
Woods hasn’t played competitive golf since last November, and his career and image suffered a considerable setback after a Nov. 27 car accident and the subsequent revelation of several extramarital affairs. In the statement, Woods also says he’s undergone inpatient therapy. “I am continuing my treatment,” he said. “Although I’m returning to competition, I still have a lot of work to do in my personal life.”
Reuters reports that the Orlando Sentinel got ahold of Florida Highway Patrol records that indicate that domestic violence might have occurred the night of Tiger Woods’ Nov. 27 car crash. According to the records — which were released after a Dec. 16 public records request by the Sentinel — the crew who took the golfer from the scene of his crash did not let Woods’ wife, Elin Nordegren, in the car because it was a case of domestic violence.
The records also say Nordegren told officers she used a golf club to break the windows of Woods’ SUV, and pulled him out of the car. One officer noted a cut on the golfer’s lower lip. Woods has repeatedly denied domestic violence claims.
Tiger Woods has returned to his home in Florida after a week of family counseling in Arizona, according to a source cited by CNN. The golfer is reportedly working out and preparing for his return to golf. In a televised statement on Feb. 19, his first public appearance since the November car accident that ultimately lead to the revelation of his involvement in numerous extramarital affairs, Woods said he would eventually golf again but would not specify a timetable, saying only that he has not ruled out this year as a possibility. Last week, Gatorade announced that it is the latest company to end its endorsement ties with Woods.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has decided not to use an unauthorized image of Tiger Woods on one of its billboards due to legal concerns, the Associated Press reports. PETA had previously announced plans for a billboard in Florida pairing Woods’ image with a message promoting spaying and neutering.
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