Tiger Confirms Next Event, Tabloids Locked Out?

It was posted on Tiger Woods‘ official website today that the golfer will play the Quail Hollow Championship in Charlotte, N.C., in two weeks.

Tiger Woods to play Quail Hollow

(’Non-traditional media’ allowed credentials to cover event? Not likely)

The tournament is played from April 29 to May 2.

WSOC-TV in Charlotte has reaction from tournament Executive Director Kym Hougham and details on ticketing and the field. Read more…

Masters Banner: ‘Tiger, Did You Mean Bootyism?’

Here’s a banner that was being towed by a plane over Augusta National Golf Club today as Tiger Woods was teeing off on the first hole of The Masters tournament:

Photo: Tiger Did You Mean Bootyism?

The sign is referencing Tiger’s claim that he has recently turned to Buddhism to help him through his recent ordeal.

Fighter jets likely to be scrambled at any moment now…

Photos: Tiger Hugs It Out In Augusta With Buds

John Boyette of the AUGUSTA CHRONICLE reports that Tiger Woods has arrived in Augusta in preparation for The Masters Thursday.

Tiger Woods arrives in Augusta for The Masters - photo credit Augusta Chronicle

(Gone Huggins With Jim Furyk)

The four-time Masters Tournament champion arrived at Augusta National Golf Club shortly after 1 p.m. today and made his way to the practice range, where he hit balls. He teed off on the 10th hole with friend and 1998 Masters winner Mark O’Meara and a guest of O’Meara’s.

Woods, wearing khaki pants and a light purple shirt, was hitting balls between Englishmen Paul Casey and Luke Donald. He greeted Casey and shook his hand when he entered the range.

Woods’ longtime caddie Steve Williams and swing coach Hank Haney accompanied him.

Extra security ringed the club’s new practice area, but it looked like business as usual. Woods hit wedges to one of the new target greens, then worked his way through the bag before heading to the course.

The Chronicle also has a photo gallery of Woods today in Augusta.

Read more…

ESPN: “Correct” Coverage Single Live Tiger Shot

For those of you who think the bizarre treatment incurred by CBS in its dealing with The Masters is unique to the television network, consider the most recent, absurd coverage compromise ESPN was forced to make with Augusta National Golf Club.

Tiger Woods 2010 Masters TV Coverage

(+1)

ESPN’s coverage of The Masters first round isn’t scheduled to start until 4pm ET next Thursday, meaning the network will miss the first live shots of Woods in his return to golf. With that in mind, ESPN had to undertake the unenviable task of going hat in hand to Augusta National to push for a live coverage allowance of Woods’ early holes.

What ESPN ended up “agreeing” to was just another in a long line of embarrassingly insular broadcast decisions by The Masters. Read more…

Tiger TV To Be Delayed But Masters Site Now Live

Last Saturday I reported that ESPN is not scheduled for live play-by-play coverage of the April 8 first round of The Masters until 4pm ET that day. Until then, there is no pre-scheduled live coverage of the tournament. ESPN has also given no indication that will change.

Tiger's first shots will likely be live on Masters.com

With Woods teeing of on April 8 at 2pm ET at the very latest, ESPN is not pre-scheduled to capture the first shots of the golfer’s comeback live. When I wrote the piece about that lack of live coverage a week ago, the Masters website gave no indication that the first few holes would be covered live online by the tournament’s official website either.

2010 Masters TV Schedule: Tiger Comeback Scheduled To Be On Tape Delay

But in the past week, there’s been a major development to that end. Read more…

More Dirt Cause For Tiger’s New PR Campaign?

Adult film performer Joslyn James, who recently released a series of sexually graphic text messages alleged to have been sent to her by Tiger Woods, guested on a New Zealand radio show today to talk about her alleged relationship with Woods and his Kiwi caddie Steve Williams.

Tiger Woods Joslyn James Steve Williams

During the interview, James intimated strongly that she had met Williams on at least once occasion. Williams subsequented denied her claim to Robert Lusetich of FoxSports.com today.

Excerpts from the interview: Read more…

Tiger: Sunday Interviews On Golf Channel, ESPN

John Ourand of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL reports Sunday afternoon:

Tiger ESPN Interview: No mention on website or TV

(Was Tiger ‘get’ conditional on no pre-promotion by the network?)

Tiger speaks: I’m hearing that Woods’ 1st 1-on-1 interview was with ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi today. Taped piece should be on ESPN after 7p tonight

Ourand is an ace reporter so I have no doubt the interview is on. Read more…

Masters Course Crash By Tabloids Not Impossible

Based on Tiger Woods‘ publicly-expressed disdain for the media outlets that blew the whistle on his serial infidelity, it’s a pretty good bet that he’s returning to golf at The Masters because he’ll have complete, personal control over who will be allowed on the Augusta National grounds. (Regardless of what Masters officials will state publicly.)

Sneaking onto Augusta National has been done before by former PGA pro Taylor Smith

(3-months-rent deposit policy finally pays off?)

In other words, the only way for outlets like TMZ.com to cover the week’s festivities will be to smuggle a reporter and/or photographer in via spectator badge or sneak onto the grounds. Ironic considering the very outlets responsible for insane interest in the event won’t be allowed to cover it.

I’ve attended The Masters as a fan and even before this year’s event can attest that Augusta National has the tightest oversight on spectators I’ve ever experienced at a major sporting event. That includes the Super Bowl and the World Cup. If TMZ and other outlets do end up spending thousands on Masters badges, I think there’s a reasonable chance those staffers will be found out and barred per Woods.

So that leaves one option: Sneaking on to Augusta National.

Impossible? If you believe a PGA Tour pro’s on the record account, absolutely not. Read more…

#2 PGAer: Masters Didn’t Want Tiger Comeback

Last week the world’s #2 golfer Steve Stricker made clear to Bob Harig of ESPN that he didn’t think Augusta National would be too excited about hosting Tiger Woods‘ return to golf.

Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker

(Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker: Frenemies?)

Whenever he comes back it’s going to draw a lot of attention to that tournament and the focus is going to be on him coming back. I don’t know if Augusta would like that to happen, you know? To turn it into Tiger’s comeback instead of the Masters Tournament itself.”

Those comments are all the more ironic when you consider Stricker’s relationship to Team Tiger. Read more…

Tiger Coach Hank Haney In Orlando With Woods

Rex Hoggard of The Golf Channel reports today:

Hank Haney is going to Orlando to coach Tiger Woods

Sources told Golf Channel that Woods’ longtime swing coach Hank Haney was spotted last weekend working with the world No. 1 at Isleworth. According to the source it is as hard as Woods has worked on his swing since well before his November car crash ignited a controversy over his infidelity.

Friday I reported that Haney had been summoned to Orlando to work with Woods. I was told by a source today that Haney is still in Orlando and continued to coach Woods on Monday.

I also previously reported that Haney has rented a home in Augusta for early April, which indicates that Woods could be playing The Masters.

UPDATE: GolfDigest.com also has confirmation of Friday SbB report.