Jason Whitlock on Billy Payne on Tiger Woods

Confusing headline? Maybe, but it will make sense in a minute…

Augusta’s chairman, Billy Payne, who took over in 2006, made a few comments about Tiger Woods and the scandal that has surrounded him for the last several months.

“Finally,” Payne said Wednesday as he wrapped up his opening comment, “we are not unaware of the significance of this week to a very special player, Tiger Woods. A man who in a brief 13 years clearly and emphatically proclaimed and proved his game to be worthy of the likes of Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. As (Tiger) ascended in our rankings of the world’s great golfers, he became an example to our kids that success is directly attributable to hard work and effort.

“But as he now says himself, he forgot in the process to remember that with fame and fortune comes responsibility, not invisibility. It is not simply the degree of his conduct that is so egregious here; it is the fact that he disappointed all of us, and more importantly, our kids and our grandkids. Our hero did not live up to the expectations of the role model we saw for our children.”

Nothing to outlandish there, right? Wrong. Jason Whitlock is up in arms because he doesn’t think that anyone associated with Augusta should be lecturing others about their behavior.

He’s chairman of a club with a history of exclusionary membership policies that would embarrass even the angriest Tea Party protesters.

You can’t preach ethics and morality from Payne’s bully pulpit. The stench of hypocrisy makes it sound like bull(spit).

Black and brown folks have kids and grandkids, too. And so do women.

It wasn’t until the Shoal Creek Golf Club/PGA Championship controversy in the early 1990s that Augusta National decided to invite a token black member. Augusta National still doesn’t have a female member, which does not bother me but does trouble some female golf fans.

A couple of things bother me about Whitlock’s argument: 1) Payne took over as chairman in 2006, well after the club started to welcome black members, and 2) Whitlock brings up the “no-women” rule to support his point and then says it “does not bother” him that Augusta doesn’t have any female members.

Payne is not responsible for the exclusionary policies that Augusta held before he took over. He is the chairman, and people are expecting him to make some remarks about Tiger and his recent history. Maybe his words were condescending and/or over the top, but it’s not like Tiger has handled himself with great humility and tact throughout this whole ordeal.

As for the club’s lack of a single female member, Whitlock is essentially saying that it’s not okay to be racist, but it is okay to be sexist, or at the very least, it doesn’t bother him. I wonder how he would feel if a female columnist said that it would be all right with her if a club had a “no blacks” policy as long as women were allowed to join.

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Tiger Woods’ ESPN interview [video]

This was all over the Worldwide Leader yesterday, but in case you missed it…

Tiger Woods: “I was living a lie.”

Taking questions from the media for the first time since he crashed his SUV outside his Florida home last November, Tiger Woods admitted to ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi that he was “living a lie.”

From ESPN.com:

“I was living a life of a lie, I really was. And I was doing a lot of things … that hurt a lot of people. And stripping away denial and rationalization you start coming to the truth of who you really are and that can be very ugly. But then again, when you face it and you start conquering it and you start living up to it, the strength that I feel now … I’ve never felt that type of strength.”

“I hurt a lot of people, not just my wife,” he told Rinaldi on Sunday. “My friends, my colleagues, the public, kids who looked up to me. There were a lot of people that thought I was a different person and my actions were not according to that. That’s why I had to apologize. I was so sorry for what I had done.”

“I’m sure if more people would have known in my inner circle, they would have stopped it or tried to put a stop to it. But I kept it all to myself,” he said.

“I’m a little nervous about that to be honest with you,” Woods told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi, who asked him what he expects when he returns to golf on April 8 following an auto accident which led to an indefinite leave from professional golf and an admission of multiple affairs. “It would be nice to hear a couple claps here and there.”

Tiger is a scumbag for cheating on his wife with multiple women and he’s paying for it through public embarrassment. But here’s the thing, outside of hoping he learns some humility throughout this situation, there’s nothing else more that he needs to do. He’s apologized publicly to his wife and his family, he’s gone through treatment and he’s spoken with the media. He doesn’t owe any explanation to anybody outside of those close to him. So in my eyes, he’s already gone above and beyond. (I don’t want to throw a parade for him – I just don’t think he needs to do anything else but move on.)

I don’t know Tiger personally – I just know what I see and hear on TV. He could be down to earth guy or he could be a pompous ass – I have no clue. But the guy has made a mistake and he’s paying for it. And quite frankly, when you strip everything away, his personal life has very little to do with his golf game. So if he gets booed at the Masters next week, then I think people need a reality check.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions about him, but in the end he owes us nothing.

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Conflicting reports on when Tiger will return

There have been conflicting reports over the last two days about when and where Tiger Woods will make his return to the PGA Tour. Yesterday, the New York Post reported that Woods would play at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in two weeks, but now the Associated Press says that Tiger wouldn’t return until the Masters.

From ESPN.com:

Meanwhile, Woods’ longtime friend, Mark O’Meara, told the Golf Channel Wednesday that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Woods played during the Tavistock Cup, a competition between two high-profile golf clubs in Orlando where several prominent PGA Tour players are members. The tournament is scheduled for March 22-23 at Isleworth.

The event would be a good way for Woods to ease back into competitive play, O’Meara told the Golf Channel.

Woods has been practicing at Isleworth near his Orlando home the last two weeks, and swing coach Hank Haney flew there during the weekend to work with him. That led to speculation Thursday he was close to playing again.

Well, what will it be, Tiger? Do you want a small (Tavistock), medium (Arnold Palmer Invitational) or big (the Masters) stage when you return to golf? Last week I predicted that he would return to the Masters and make a big splash, but the other two events make sense as well.

It never ceases to amaze me how the focus has now turned to Tiger’s return to golf. It’s prove that the media and we as an American public have a short attention span and will move onto the next big storyline as soon as humanly possible. For months the headlines were about Tiger bumping uglies with porn stars and him going to sex therapy, now we’re trying to figure out when he’ll return to golf. Amazing.

Update: TMZ has put some clues together and it appears that Woods will make his comeback at the Tavistock. Nothing has been confirmed yet, however.

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Tiger to make his return March 25 at Bay Hill?

According to a report by FOXSports.com, Tiger Woods is targeting the Arnold Palmer Invitational on March 25 at Bill Hill in Orlando to make his return to the PGA Tour.

Two sources in the golf community told The New York Post that Ari Fleischer, the former press secretary to Pres. George W. Bush and the man who was brought in to help repair the steroid-shattered image of Mark McGwire, has been huddling with Woods, plotting a strategy for his return to golf — at the Arnold Palmer Invitational starting March 25 at Bay Hill in Orlando.

“They were in his living room this week going over a strategy for how to handle Bay Hill in two weeks,” one source said.

The other source told The Post, “I would be shocked if he didn’t play the Arnold Palmer .”

Palmer himself reportedly has told some close confidants that Woods is definitely playing Bay Hill. Quietly, the people running the tournament are preparing for a larger-than-usual media crush.

Last week I made a prediction that Tiger would make his return at the Masters on April 8th, or play in whatever tournament occurs the week before the Masters. Bay Hill is the last tournament before the Masters.

It makes sense that Woods would want to knock the rust off his game before he played in a major, so I wouldn’t doubt it if this report were true and his return is at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. It’ll be interesting to see how his team will choose to handle the media when he’s not out on the course.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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