Over The Green
My New Blog

I have to move my blog. Sorry.

Find the new blog—as well as a lot more stuff—on my website: www.jimgolfrank.com.

Thanks. Hope to see you there.

My Two Seconds of (Uncredited) Fame

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Hugh Grant on Letterman last night. If you have to ask why this is important to me, let me know or go to Amazon and check it out!

Can It Get Any Sillier?

Three things here. You decide their relative importance.

1) Article in the New York Times about a doctor from Canada possibly giving performance-enhancing drugs and guess whose name is prominently mentioned?

2) Article in the New York Times about a young golfer getting advice from an older countryman who uses guess who as the negative role model.

3) Would you all still follow me if I moved by blog to another site? (And if this continues, to another sport?)

Is It Over Yet?

I’m looking forward to the day when all the blogs, Tweets, and Facebook Status Updates aren’t about Tiger, aren’t bad jokes about hitting hydrants and 9-irons, and I can stop hearing about what goes on inside the velvet ropes at VIP clubs. It’s not a national tragedy, but it is a fall from grace the sort we haven’t seen in a long, long time—and perhaps never in sports. But ultimately, it’s none of our business other than that snarky feeling we get laughing at someone else’s troubles.

There but for the grace of golf…

So let us allow the family Woods to figure out their future without our prying eyes. Now what will be interesting is whether we express our displeasure in the marketplace, although why anyone wouldn’t buy a Gillette razor or Nike golf ball because Tiger transgressed is beyond me.

I’m going back to my original thesis, which is that the American public has a short attention span and is quick to forgive and forget. Case in point: Congress.

And somewhere out there, if you listen closely, another scandal is brewing. Just you wait and see.

My New Site

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Looking for more from me than quick thoughts and blog posts? Check out my new website for longer articles, old and new, with more to come. www.jimgolfrank.com. Tell your friends. Have a bake sale. Send money. Enjoy.

A Question and a Suggestion for Tiger

I’m sick of this Tiger thing. Not sick about it—discovering that an idol has feet of clay—but sick of hearing it, reading it, and being asked about it.

It’s time to leave Tiger alone and let him try to solve his personal problems privately, just as any of us would want in a similar situation. Yes, he is a public figure, but that doesn’t give us the right to invade his privacy. He is not a politician, when his private actions could affect policy and how our tax dollars are spent. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think that Team Tiger’s long-standing policy of not talking (and not letting their man say much that isn’t scripted) has worked in his favor: It isn’t as if he’s been fulminating about ethical and moral issues or pretending to be a good church-goer while cavorting in the pews. Yeah, he has said some things about being a father that now look less than sincere, but that’s been about it. And he’s been pretty good for charity, which is worth something.

Now my question: Why is Tiger paying Rachel Uchitel (if in fact he is) one thin dime to shut up and keep emails and voicemails from public eyes and ears? We already know he’s been tom-catting around, and more important, Elin does, too. So why pay this woman—and leave himself open to more “greenmail”—to keep anything quiet? What more can we learn? That he likes Ambien sex? That he has other kinks? So what? The only potential harm could be to his endorsements, and I’m sure Tiger’s people have already spoken at length to the likes of Nike, AT&T, Gatorade, etc. (They all deal with athletes so they know what goes on once the games are over.)

If there are real secrets in Ms. Uchitel’s inbox, maybe the hush money makes sense. If not, he should derail the alleged million-plus-dollar gravy train.

Now the suggestion. Again, since Tiger isn’t a politician and really doesn’t depend on the public for much (does anyone think he plays golf for the adulation of fans?), and since his time would be well spent trying to fix his marriage, I think he should take the next year off from golf. That’s right. Stay home, play with the kids, prove to his wife that he’s done with the messing around (not going on the road would certainly help), and while he’s there, continue with couples therapy or sex therapy or whatever it is she wants from him.

Besides (theoretically) fixing things at home, this would have the added benefit of building up the public’s lust for his return to golf in 2011. We saw how the game did when he was out for nine months after the 2008 U.S. Open, and then the great interest in his return. So do it again. Make people forget the bad stuff and pine for the return of the greatest golfer of our time. (Fans and TV networks would suffer, as would the PGA Tour, but maybe that’s deserved punishment for our insatiable curiosity. We all flew too close to the fire, we’re all going to get burned.)

A little penance would be good for the soul, his as well as ours.

This would be a pretty big sacrifice for Tiger, but probably not financially. He could still do commercials and appearances, as long as he opens up a bit to the media (appearances on Oprah?) and does good at the same time. More charitable work, more First Tee, more Nike-endorsed campaigns (Tiger needs to launch his version of Lance Armstrong’s “LiveStrong”; how about “LiveClean”?), etc.

In the spirit of his Thai heritage, Tiger should become like a novice Buddhist monk for one year (without the saffron robes), devoting himself to good. President Obama can send him on goodwill missions (I’d like to see an exhibition match with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il, who claims to have had something like a dozen holes-in-one in his first round of golf); General Motors might want to hire him back to inspire us to buy Buicks and other American-made cars (hell, he can buy us each one!); Nike can have him campaign for better phys-ed programs in schools and against childhood obesity. You get the idea. One year, free to America and the world, to repair his image and repair whatever problems he can.

My humble suggestion. Just Do It. Yes He Can.

Tiger’s “Transgressions”

The following was posted this morning on Tiger’s website, tigerwoods.com (check it out for comments from viewers, which are pouring in). An interesting admission. Now let’s see if the public/media leave him alone or not. Wanna take bets?

I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.

Although I am a well-known person and have made my career as a professional athlete, I have been dismayed to realize the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means. For the last week, my family and I have been hounded to expose intimate details of our personal lives. The stories in particular that physical violence played any role in the car accident were utterly false and malicious. Elin has always done more to support our family and shown more grace than anyone could possibly expect.

But no matter how intense curiosity about public figures can be, there is an important and deep principle at stake which is the right to some simple, human measure of privacy. I realize there are some who don’t share my view on that. But for me, the virtue of privacy is one that must be protected in matters that are intimate and within one’s own family. Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn’t have to mean public confessions.

Whatever regrets I have about letting my family down have been shared with and felt by us alone. I have given this a lot of reflection and thought and I believe that there is a point at which I must stick to that principle even though it’s difficult.

I will strive to be a better person and the husband and father that my family deserves. For all of those who have supported me over the years, I offer my profound apology.

Perhaps Tiger Was Right…

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Mulling legal precedents, perhaps?

If you’re convinced that Tiger did the wrong thing by remaining silent, maybe the world’s greatest golfer is smarter (or has better legal representation) than many of us think. My son the law student sent me this link to a legal site that posits some very good reasons for Tiger keeping mum about the accident and especially his wife’s actions. We may never know the full story, but legally speaking that just may be a good thing—at least for Mr. and Mrs. Woods.

But jeez I wish it were the heart of the golf-playing season and we could all find something else to talk about. How about that Italian World Cup team?

My Take on Tiger

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Uh-oh… not another errant drive?

Since it’s now impossible to be in the golf business without putting in one’s two cents on the Tiger traffic trauma, here are my thoughts.

1) I think he was up at 2:30am so he could be first on line at Walmart, or maybe Target, where he was going to snap up some Black Friday savings. A coffeemaker, perhaps? Or a Snuggie? Maybe the kids asked for a Wii system…

What gifts do you think he was going to buy, and for whom?

2) Would none of this happened if he’d still been driving a Buick?

I hope this will be my last public thoughts on the matter, but somehow I doubt it.

"It’s not in the USGA’s by-laws to grow the game"

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One of my more interesting assignments of late was interviewing USGA Executive Director David B. Fay. Next week, Fay will be presented with the Distinguished Service Award by the Metropolitan Golf Association (that’s the New York metro area, more than 500 clubs!), and I was asked to write his profile for the association’s Met Golfer magazine, which you can read here (sorry, for now it’s a pdf; when it becomes a weblink, I’ll let you know). I’ve known David for many years, but this was the first time we sat down, just the two of us, and talked. We’re neighbors on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, so I walked to his apartment and “interviewed” him while watching the first game of the Yankees-Twins playoff series. He’s a true New York sports fan, especially the Yankees, so the transcript is filled with shouts, claps, screams, and comments on the action and the team. His thoughts about golf are pretty good, too.