Highlights from Woods’ Ryder presser
NEWPORT, Wales – Sometimes the questions are more entertaining than the answers. That often has been the case this year regarding Tiger Woods, who has lapsed into tight-lipped mode since expressing early-season candor coming out of sex scandal.
Woods’ golf this year has been interesting because of its unpredictability instead of the usual dominance. And if his news conferences have been compelling since spring, it’s because they’re marked more by pointed inquiries than open revelations.
Such was the case again Tuesday in his pre-Ryder Cup press interview. You might say it’s the most interesting thing that has happened in Wales so far this week, at least to this observer.
Question to Woods from veteran British tabloid reporter: “You don’t win majors anymore, you don’t win regular tournaments anymore and you are about to be deposed by Europeans as the world No. 1 or Phil Mickelson. Where is the Ryder Cup now on your agenda, now that you’re an ordinary golfer?”
Laughter from other reporters filled the interview room. Woods picked up on it, cracked the smallest of pursed-lipped smiles and said, “I remember you’re the same one at the British Open who asked me that, too. I hope you’re having a good week.”
Translation in any language: Get lost, no comment, next question.
A colleague of mine believes the reporter is the same one who peppered Woods with a long, knuckles-rapping question in a pre-British Open session at St. Andrews in July.
Question to Woods from our intrepid correspondent: “Tom Watson has said you need to clean up your act on the golf course. He’s gone on record. Many of us over the years have heard you use the F-word, we’ve seen you spit on the course and we’ve seen you throw tantrums like chucking your clubs around. Are you willing to cut out all those tantrums this week and respect the home of golf?”
Woods: “I’m trying to become a better player and a better person, yes.”
Translation: Give me a break.
Then, of course, there was this exchange at the PGA Championship between Woods and a mustachioed reporter wearing a bow tie.
Mustachioed man wearing bow tie: “Quick question. Over the last 48 to 72 hours it seems like you’ve gone from the No. 1 player in the world to like one of the worst players on the planet, and yet I’m wondering: A) do you think that that coverage is probably a little misunderstood because of – it was just one of the things where you had said early that you just hadn’t had a chance to practice? And do you think the time you’ve spent here do you think will actually rectify that in our minds?”
Woods: “Well, the good thing is even though I’m one of the worst players on the planet, I might be able to beat you. (Laughter.) So I do feel good about that. (Laughter.) Yes. Definitely.”
Translation: It might have been the best deflection of Woods’ career.
It is safe to say the line of questioning for Woods was different before he hit the hydrant. We knew he had become a punch line. We knew he had become a punching bag.
Now you never know when a Saturday Night Live skit will break out.