Woods seems to be coming back in character
It is good to see that nothing has changed with Tiger Woods, at least when it comes to his handlers trying to control his image.
The word is out that Woods will sit down with a handful of selected reporters Friday in Florida to start the image-cleansing process. As if there could be enough soap.
There are two points about this operation, which was set up by his agent, Mark Steinberg, with the International Management Group, and is to include a wire service reporter and a "small pool" of golf reporters chosen by the Golf Writers Association of America (of which I am a member, for disclosure's sake).
The first point is that Woods, who usually makes it a habit not to say anything to golf writers that he doesn't want to say – and believe me, I have been in the press room with him a couple of hundred times and never heard much of value escape him – apparently thinks he can control the agenda by controlling the size and identity of the press scrum.
Which ever reporters are in this small knot, they're in a tough spot. Woods's history says he won't answer anything he doesn't want to talk about and anyone who badgers him about the spectacularly sordid moments could be banished to his enemies' list. Anyone who just goes in lobbing softballs for him to hit out of the park will look bad to his peers and the public.
That's the first part and Woods would be better to walk the press gauntlet in a wide-open format, where the tabloid types could fire away. Because he's going to get it sooner or later; he can't run from this forever.
The second part of all this is the timing. Why now? Why not last week or next week? Because it comes right when the Accenture Match Play Championship will be getting down to the short strokes, that's why.
It was Accenture that bailed out on Woods as a key sponsor, of course. Woods, who always had a steely memory for every slight he suffered, whether real or imagined, clearly is beginning his retaliation against those who have done him wrong (in his own mind). So let's see how many newspapers and TV stations and websites give two hoots about the Accenture event when Woods opens his yap in public for the first time since his world was turned upside down forever.
This is Tiger saying to the former Arthur Andersen – the creeps who green-lighted Enron, you remember, so spare no sympathy for them – that he's still the biggest name in showbiz, with or without them.
He may say things differently Friday, but judging just from what we hear today, it sounds like the same old Tiger to me.