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Tiger: Tilghman Affair Was "Media Driven"

Yesterday Tiger Woods made his first public appearance since Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman’s comments suggesting players “lynch him in a back alley.” To this point Tilghman still has her job, though the editor of Golfweek was turfed over a cover story on the issue.

Saying the issue was “more media-driven than anything else,” Woods called Tilghman’s gaff “unfortunate.”

“Kelly and I did speak. There was no ill intent. She regrets saying it. In my eyes, it’s all said and done.”

Woods spoke at the Tiger Woods Learning Center, where he announced a contest for children to talk about their first “fist-pump” moment.

Of course Woods could have helped “his friend” Tilghman out if he had simply issued his own public statement sometime over the last two weeks. Instead he had his agent make a comment and stayed silent. However, with this latest remark it would seem likely that issue may finally start being put to rest, though it will undoubtedly resurface when Tilghman returns to work. The verbal misstep will put an extraordinary amount of pressure on the annoucer and put her under an even bigger microscope. I doubt she’ll last with that kind of scrutiny. The Golf Channel may keep her on for the remainder of the year, but expect an announcement that she’s being replaced at some point over the next year.

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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.

16 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Kelly should be replaced, gaff or no gaff.

    As should everyone else, other than Faldo, that does coverage for The Golf Channel.

    They are just, well, really mediocre and boring.

  • I know what you mean tvwatcher, but I don’t agree that it is down to the personalities doing the coverage. I feel the golf channel has some learning to do in the area of production and finding ways to inject some excitement into some of the less – than interesting tournaments and fields they have to cover. Anybody is going to shine if they are covering the Masters because we bring most of the excitement to experience before we even sit down and watch it.

    Another big problem is the quality of the picture that is broadcast in Canada. They should bring the HD signal up into Canada so we don’t have to squint at the TV to try and figure out what we are watching.

    I wouldn’t go as far as to say “expect an announcement that she’s being replaced at some point over the next year” because the Golf Channel has made a commitment to bringing some different faces to broadcast golf – including some female faces- and I don’t think they will dump their strategy that quickly.

  • Tiger lost an opportunity to make a statement. He has been criticized for not taking a stronger stand on social issues. After all, he has a great platform and is doing it in some respects with his learning centre…although few can object to a learning centre for kids. It is the right thing to do.

    Is Tiger a corporate boy unwilling to take a stand that may negatively impact his sponsors? One small example is his schedule. He says his tournament schedule is unrelated to his sponsor deals but he seems to play lots of GM tournaments and not so much the Doral Ford event (but fun to watch when he does like his dual with Phil a few years back).

    He could have been more publicly critical of Kelly’s comments and the Golfweek cover while at the same time explaining that he knows Kelly meant no harm and that they are friends.

    Sometimes friends need to be upfront and hard on each other and this is a case where he could have made a strong statement around how her words were totally unacceptable and to reinforce that there is still lots of work to do to eliminate racism in America. As an example, the Confederate flag flies on government buildings in South Carolina TODAY. That action is a direct insult to Black Americans in that state specifically and to all Americans generally.

    Tiger shys away from taking controversial stands and it is a lost opportunity.

  • Why does Tiger or any other athlete have to take a stand on any issue? He is a golfer, paid to play golf, he doesn’t have to do anything other than play golf. Maybe he thought “if I don’t say anything about this issue that got blown WAYYYYY out of proportion, it will die” Athletes aren’t politicians, just because they are famous doesn’t mean they are obligated to take a stand on any issue.

  • Just to be clear…I did not say Tiger was obliged to take a stand, only that he lost an opportunity to take a stand and in my opinion…make a difference.

    The thing to consider is that few people have a genuine opportunity to make a difference in our society based on their intellect, popularity, wealth, or other status. In more cases than not, they are not required to make a difference in society but if they choose to, they can have a significant impact. There are many examples of high profile athletes who have done this….Arther Ashe comes to mind in tennis…

    Not many have this capability like Tiger Woods…it is a shame that he is letting his opportunity pass by. Remember, Earl Woods said that Tiger is going to do great things…and not just in golf. I am still waiting for those great non-golf things, a Southern California learning centre and Tiger Woods Foundation notwithstanding.

    And for those over the age of 40, lynching occured in the Southern United States in their lifetime. For those whose family members were involved in a lynching, I would hazard a guess that they would not say this whole situation was “blown WAYYYYY out of proportion…”

  • I would hazard to guess the people whose family members were invlolved in a lynching know that her comment was a MISTAKE!! Do you think that she actually, literally meant Tiger should be lynched, anyone who does think she meant this needs help.

  • Her reference to the word “lynching” as it applies to a non caucasian, regardless of whether it was intentional or not, would evoke a strong reaction from family members of someone who was subject to such a heinous act. If one thinks otherwise, they should walk in the shoes of those who have been subject to such brutality.

  • Weekend enthusiast, are you an actor? If you’re not you should be on a stage. Relax, I didn’t see any family members on the news calling for anyone’s head, why are you?

  • Wayne:

    I am not calling for anyone’s head. When I see posts from readers who think this situation is overblown or do not understand the stir caused by what was likely an unintentional blunder by an anchor, I believe that the readers do not understand the very real torment felt by those who may have a personal experience with awful racial incidents that were occuring as recent as the late 1960s.

    The Southern US has a very different racial profile, history, and culture than what most Canadians are exposed to and it is unfair to discount the genuine feelings of people from that region based on a different experience in Canada. Making judgements about people’s reactions to the Kelly incident when one has not walked in the southern US black person’s shoes is unfair.

  • tvwatcher….The Golf Channel is not perfect, but are CBS and NBC?

    longdrive….blame the CRTC for no HD version of the Golf Channel

    Weekend….you may not have said Tiger has an obligation but it sure sounds like you are criticizing him for not being the “be all end all” do-gooder. Did it occur to you that since the words are offensive to an entire race, it shouldn’t be incumbent on ONE person to let her or Golfweek off the hook?

    And for RT to think that Tiger should have personally spoken earlier instead of issuing a statement? As if that’s meaningful?

  • As I said, it is an opportunity lost for Tiger to take a stand on this issue. And by the way, although Tiger is only one person, his platform, reach, status, and position is far more powerful than just one person. And many people confirm that since Tiger has accepted Kelly’s apology, then everyone else should as well.

    Seems like his thoughts carry a lot of weight. I wonder what could happen with those words if they are directed toward taking a more proactive stance on this issue rather than just letting it pass by accepting an apology and not creating any waves…again, an opportunity lost.

  • “Not a Ken” — thought admittedly you’re coming across a bit like one — a personal comment, be it a phone call to the Golf Channel, for example, would hold more weight with me than a simple statement through one’s agent. If Tilghman really is his friend, as he says, then he could have helped her more by making his comments public in his voice, not his agent’s. By using his agent, it seemed to me that he was either a) accepting Tilghman’s apology in private and hanging her in public or b) just couldn’t be bothered to publicly come to her defense. Could be either I suppose.

  • I think Tiger genuinely did not think Tilghman did not have any malicious intent. However, after following Tiger for years and read a whole bunch of write ups about him, I think he also made the conscious decision to let Tilghman hang out to dry just becase ‘he can’ and to show Tilghman that who really is in charge of the so-called ‘friendship’. Honestly, I think he got a kick out of it.

  • Correction to the first sentence to my previous post:

    It should read: ‘I think Tiger genuinely does not think Tilghman have any malicious intent.’

  • Not a Ken.

    All good points.

    There are a number of HD channels available in the US that are not available here, including Golf Channel and Speed Tv.

  • Earl Woods, Tiger’s father predicted in 1996…

    “Tiger will do more than any other man in history to change the course of humanity,” Earl told Sports Illustrated in the winter of 1996, just months after his son unleashed the words, “Hello, world,” as part of an international marketing campaign. “He is the Chosen One. He’ll have the power to impact nations. Not people. Nations. The world is just getting a taste of his power.”

    Tiger seems not to be following his father’s words…a lost opportunity…

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