Not talking: Tiger Woods snubs Sports Illustrated for cover story

This week marks Tiger Woods’ 21st cover on Sports Illustrated. So it isn’t exactly a novelty for the old/new world No. 1 golfer.

Yet it still is Sports Illustrated. If the magazine is going to do a big cover piece, you figure you might make yourself available to spend a few minutes with the reporter. Right?

Well, in the no-surprise department, Woods snubbed SI’s Michael Rosenberg. In an email, Rosenberg wrote:

“Tiger did not talk to me. I knew he probably would not. His representatives were honest with me about that from the beginning. I told them I would love to talk to Tiger and get his voice in the story, but I did not beg for access. I told them my goal was not to defend or criticize Tiger, but to explain him.

“It’s no secret that Tiger Woods is one of the toughest subjects for a sportswriter because he is so guarded. But I felt strongly that there was a good story here, and I didn’t want to avoid it simply because he avoided me.

“I talked to many people who have interacted with Tiger. Most of them are not quoted in the piece, and many of them have no stake in Tiger’s career. They all informed my view of him. I hope readers will finish the story feeling like they understand Tiger better, and have a sense of how he recovered from his personal and professional nadir.”


Some things never change. I never had a one-on-one with Woods during my 12 years covering the PGA Tour. That was the case with virtually everyone out there.

Once, I spent three days in Southern California tracking his roots. I talked to his father, Earl, for two hours at his house; met with his first coaches; toured the courses where Woods hit his first shots.

I asked if I could get five minutes on the phone with Woods to talk about his early days. I thought it might be a topic he would enjoy discussing.

The answer? A definitive no.

That’s fine. However, where I have a problem is when Woods suddenly is available whenever he has something to promote.

There he is talking to Darren Rovell or popping up on CNN and CNBC. Woods is willing to chat when it suits his agenda.

I’m sure Woods’ handlers have advised, if not begged him to make himself more available. From a PR standpoint, it just makes sense.

But as I said, some things never change.




5 thoughts on “Not talking: Tiger Woods snubs Sports Illustrated for cover story

  1. Not sure I can agree with you here and I am far from a Woods defender. His level of success has allowed him to pick and choose when he speaks and when he doesn’t. Of course he only talk when it suits his agenda. If we all had the liberty and power, we would do the same. As far as his advisers begging him to do more PR…doubtful. Woods is not a likeable human being. He could get away with that arrogance before all of the tumult of a few Novembers ago. But not now. There are a lot of people, people like me and it sounds like you, too, that watch and read what he says with a highly critical eye and then write about it. Tiger is an ass. His advisers know this very well. They don’t want him out there spouting off and being unnecessarily defensive any more than he wants to do the interviews himself.

    • Tiger is the Jack Johnson of our time. Except it is now more socially acceptable and legal to be his own person. America has not moved a lot when it comes to the color of a person’s skin especially with the media, and golf. You all are cruel to Tiger.

  2. To be fair, if a reporter told me he/she was hoping to “explain me” in a story, I wouldn’t speak to him/her either. What creepy terminology.

  3. I agree with your stance that from a PR perspective it probably would do Woods some good to cooperate in stories in SI, etc etc instead of just being publicly available when he has something to promote but why is it a “problem”? Let’s not kid ourselves here, journos need Woods more than Woods need journos. The people who are cutting him a cheque are his sponsors and that’s why he appears on CNN/CNBC, because they’re paying him to be there.

  4. Regarding the press and Tiger…I think it’s a question of selective integrity. Regardless of how anyone comes down on Tiger’s behavior I still want to know how a hundred members of the press including long time golf writers could sit at the press conference at the Master’s where Billy Payne lectured Tiger Woods about the MORALITY of his actions and NOT A SINGLE member of the press raised a hand to question Payne on the irony of a tournament steeped in racism lecturing anyone about moral behavior. Were you at the Masters for that? If so can you explain your silence at the time? If not can you explain why all the writers present including Dan Jenkins and John Feinstein also were lacking in journalistic coverage?

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