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Nicklaus on Tiger: "None of My Business"

Surprising it has taken this long, but Jack Nicklaus has sort of commented on the Tiger Woods fiasco. How many women are now supposed to have slept with Tiger? Sixteen including a couple of porn stars? When did this guy have time to practice? Hank Haney told me Tiger was usually at the gym by six, but given that according to reports he had a different nightly companion, when did he actually sleep? And why in the world would he need Ambien, a sedative all the ladies say he loved?

Anyway, Nicklaus told the AP that Tiger would be forgiven. Interesting, a senior golf industry figure told me he’d heard tales of extra-marital affairs about practically every golfer — but never a rumor about Nicklaus.

“Our public is pretty forgiving at times,” Nicklaus said Thursday. “Time usually heals all wounds. I think the hardest thing is obviously his family. That’s a private matter for him and his family.”

Nicklaus won 18 major championships, the most in golf history. Woods is second with 14.

Woods has remained out of the public eye since the crash Thanksgiving weekend and the scandal that quickly followed. He has acknowledged “transgressions” on his Web site.

“He’s a great athlete,” Nicklaus said. “He’ll figure it out.”

Tiger would have to be a world-class sprinter to out run this mess…

Nicklaus’ reluctance to comment is overshadowed by comments from the human rain delay, Ben Crane, and Charles Warren, a player who once sat on the PGA Tour’s advisory board. Both had tough things to say about Tiger to some magazine called Life and Style, which I’ve never heard of previous to this:

Ben Crane, a PGA player, has even harsher words. “This is no surprise to anyone who knows Tiger,” Crane tells Life & Style. “He’s a phony and a fake and he can’t retain that squeaky-clean endorsement deal any longer.” Crane also believes Elin may have known about Tiger’s other women. “She’s no fool,” Crane says, adding that perhaps Elin “turned a blind eye because of the money and the kids and the lifestyle he provides.”

PGA golfer Charles Warren agrees that it may have been more than love that attracted Elin to Tiger but that she should definitely leave him in light of what’s happened. “She was very young when Jesper introduced them,” Warren tells Life & Style. “She had stars in her eyes and maybe dollar signs too. But no, she should not stay with him. What kind of message would that send to her sister and mother and all the women out there? That your husband can be a bastard but as long as he makes the deal worthwhile, you’ll stay?”

I played with Warren at a Canadian Open pro-am a few years back — and don’t remember him being particularly pious.

The Life and Style story is here.

Update: Both players deny they every spoke to the reporter about Woods.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Good for Jack. I will be interested to see if Crane and Warren, who I have never even heard of, actually commented or are now reconsidering their words given the worldwide scrutiny. You can guarantee that Tiger is filing away names of everyone who is spouting off.

  • This whole situation is still so surreal to me.

    But the one thing I can’t help but think in reading the comments of these players–where was all of this negativity about Tiger 2 years ago (assuming they’re true)?

    “This is no surprise to anyone who knows Tiger.”

    If that was the case and you’re so sure everyone knew it to be true, then why stay silent and stew Ben Crane? Perhaps that was why he took so long to play golf. Maybe he was pondering these things while he took his fourth practice swing and his playing partner finished up on the green 150 yards away.

  • Demographics.

    Then the recession.

    Now Tiger.

    Let’s hope that, in a year or two from now, the golf industry is still reasonably healthy.

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