THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – It was a question that has echoed through the canyon here at Sherwood Country Club.
“What’s your take on ‘Tigergate’?”
Only thing is, it came from a player, not a reporter, and it was in the middle of a pro-am round on the day before the $5.75 million Chevron World Challenge is to begin.
Another player asked, “Is there anything new on the Tiger front?”
It’s not like they are avoiding the subject. Truth is, they know there’s no way to do so, and if you had to measure the reaction in one word, Steve Stricker offered it: Shock.
“I’m not going to kid you,” Stricker said. “It was a shock to see (how this has unfolded). First of all, the accident and then all the developments after that.”
Of course, Stricker was referring to Woods’ statement in which he apologized for his “transgressions,” in light of the stories being published about allegations of his infidelity. While he conceded it was a personal matter, Stricker seemed to understand that Woods’ celebrity will keep it in the forefront of the news.
“I don’t think it’s really any of our business to get inside his private life,” Stricker said. “But it all drives us to want to learn more, I guess.”
As players finished their pro-am rounds and looked up at members of the media, they knew what was coming. Questions, requests for reaction, thoughts, viewpoints. Some waved them off, others offered their perspectives.
“I think it’s certainly a private matter,” Zach Johnson said. “I think it’s a matter that the Woods family just needs their time together and allow them to get through it.”
Anthony Kim seemed particularly uncomfortable when asked for his reaction. “That’s just not something I want to get into,” he said.
Pressed further on how it’s difficult for a high-profile celebrity such as Woods to deal with rumors and try to stop them from snowballing, Kim did score points for spot-on humor.
“I’m trying to stop it personally all the time, so I’ll let you know when I figure it out.”
Of course, it was only two months ago when Kim found himself being roundly criticized by Robert Allenby for keeping late hours and being “a drunk” during the Presidents Cup, and he’s often been linked to a casual lifestyle.
“I’m pretty laid back, and if somebody wants to know something (about me), they’re probably going to find out,” Kim said.
Asked if Woods’ image will take a hit, Kim suggested it wouldn’t.
“I know he’s going to come out (of this) a better man.”