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This week, Golf Digest columnist Dan Jenkins penned what he described as a (fake) interview with Tiger Woods. In the article, Jenkins poses dozens of questions to an imaginary Woods, with answers crafted to paint a rather unflattering portrait. Here's one exchange (Jenkins' questions in bold):
Have you ever regretted firing [former swing coach] Butch Harmon after winning your first eight majors with him?
Butchie was making me tip too many people.
I don't get it. For a guy who can certainly afford it, you've become famous for being a bad tipper. It's almost like you take pride in it.
I just don't understand why you're supposed to tip people for doing a job they're already getting paid to do.
In many cases tips are expected to be part of their salary.
So let 'em go find a better job.
It comes as no surprise that Woods did not take kindly to the faux interview. What's fascinating, however, is the forum Woods chose to offer a rebuttal. On Tuesday, Woods published a piece for the Players' Tribune, the website founded by recently retired New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. Here's some of what Woods wrote:
The truth is, Jenkins has no idea how I think or feel about any of the things he claims to know about, which is why he had to make things up. Frustration or resentment because I have not been more available to him should not give him a license for an underhanded attack on me as an athlete, as a professional and as a person.
The Woods/Jenkins exchange this week seems to be precisely the sort of situation for which the Tribune exists. On its website, the Players' Tribune bills itself as "a new media platform that will present the unfiltered voices of professional athletes," with a goal to "to provide unique insight into the daily sports conversation and to publish first-person stories directly from athletes."
Woods, credited as a "guest contributor," is not the only high-profile athlete to provide commentary for Jeter's new enterprise recently. On Oct. 2, Seattle Seahawks quarterback (and Tribune "senior editor") Russell Wilson published a piece addressing the NFL domestic violence scandal, in which he described himself as "a recovering bully."
And on Wednesday, Jason Collins, the first openly-gay player in the NBA, published an article about his retirement from the league titled "I'm Out." (Collins first announced his retirement in an article for Sports Illustrated. In April, Collins came out in a first-person story for S.I.)
High-profile athletes writing about hot sports topics seems like a smart business strategy, but only time will tell if Jeter's Players' Tribune can be a major-league player in the ever-changing sports media landscape.
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