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Tiger & the Media
If you know a rising tide lifts all boats, why would you cut off your nose to spite your face?
Tiger & Phil at the 2012 Masters
I have pondered this non-sequitur for quite some time now with regards to Tiger Woods and his relationships with golf personalities and the media. Tiger is good for the game, and every person involved in the industry has experienced greater success as a result of him, some much more than others.
Yet the very people who gained the most are taking shots at him. At a time when we are looking to grow the game why is it we are turning on one another within the industry? The tearing down of each other is also tearing down the foundation and purpose of the game. Why would you want to take this graceful, gentlemen's sport, which prides itself in integrity and trust, and take it to the level of TMZ?
I am not sure of the street value of 30 pieces of silver these days, but I don't think it is worth the betrayal of trust. Having just written a book, where I interviewed 36 of the top golfers in the world, I can attest it is no easy task to get even fun questions answered honestly and openly. "Two Good Rounds" explores the lighter side of golf and asks the players their favorites drink and 19th-hole memories.
I really want people to love golf and enjoy the beautiful bonding that is a large part of it, and this book is meant to bring the amateur and pro golfer together through parallel life experiences and learn more about the touring pros in a respectful and lighthearted way.
The media was once respectful of sports athletes and helped them tell balanced stories through great writing. Now we are seen as adversaries, people to be wary of. Recent events put even more distance between the media and players, and I imagine players would be even more cautious with almost anyone entering their lives. Hopefully, Bubba will keep being Bubba and share with the media his experiences as he continues to win. He, like Tiger, is great for the game and offers a fresh, new and different perspective.
I recently saw an Off Broadway play called "Freud's Last Session." Set in 1939, it hypothesizes a meeting involving Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis in Freud's office for a debate over God, sex and war. The two great figures argue over a number of topics. This reminded me of another great play I saw years ago based on another fictional meeting: "Picasso at the Lapin Agile." That play, written by Steve Martin, imagines what might have happened if Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso met at a bar called the Lapin Agile in Montmartre, Paris. It is set in 1904, and both men are on the verge of amazing ideas (Einstein will publish his special theory of relativity in 1905 and Picasso will paint Les Demoiselles d'Avignon in 1907) when they find themselves at the Lapin Agile, where they have a lengthy debate about the value of genius and talent, all while interacting with other characters.
That reminded me of my own hypothetical meeting when I ran into Tiger at a Dave & Busters. Having grown up in the Northeast, I really miss air hockey and ping pong. I was looking for a challenger to play a game of PP or air hockey. Knowing I had already played Matt Kuchar (which we had done for TV, so it was public knowledge), Tiger and I decided to play air hockey over a drink. No surprise that he's a great player. My ricochet off the left side to the inside right corner of the goal gained me a few points in my day. We discussed Stanford and the serenity of its beautiful campus, where we had both attended, myself earlier than he.
We talked about Boston sports teams and my overly optimistic hopes for them this year; we also touched on Tim Tibow and Peyton Manning. Then we discussed the over/under possibility of Garret Gomez, a jockey (5'3" 114 pounds) out-driving Charles Barkley (6' 6" 252 pounds) on a golf course. I pointed out that while I would have taken Gomez as the favorite in the past, Barkley's recent Weight Watchers diet may have given him the edge he needed.
Typical woman, I talked the entire time; the poor guy could hardly get a word in. Midway through the game he offered me a piece of gum. I wasn't sure if he was buying for time to figure out a strategy or if I had bad breath. We had a few more laughs and called it quits. Tiger won the game, but I'm convinced that was because I was wearing heels and couldn't get the traction necessary to transfer the weight from my back leg to my front and exert the force needed to move the puck at my usual fast speed.
As we got ready to leave I mentioned one of the best pieces of advice I received was years ago from a dear friend, Dr. Seuss, which has always served me well over the years: "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
Oh, one last thing, Tiger was too polite to ask, but I wanted to be Wonder Woman. What can I say? I have the hair for that role.
Elisa Gaudet brings a wealth of entertainment and golf experience to Cybergolf. Elisa has spent the past several years in the golf industry in the U.S., Latin America and Spain. She worked for the PGA Tour and the Tour de las Americas before founding Executive Golf International, a golf marketing company that works with clients to develop strategies using golf as the medium. Often referred to as the Maria Bartiromo (a business analyst for CNBC) of golf, Elisa says: "Golf, as a marketing tool, has been around for years. It's amazing how many new ways companies can align their brand with the golf market to reach their target audience. Our goal is to create alliances and establish cross-border relations." Elisa also worked in the entertainment industry for over 10 years, including five in Los Angeles as a model and actress. She can be seen at many celebrity golf events and often gets the inside scoop from PGA Tour players. In 2011, Elisa published her first book, "Two Good Rounds" (Skyhorse Publishing). Her story for Cybergolf, "Golf a Romantic Affair at Cabin Bluff," won the top prize in ING's 2012 Travel Writing category. For more information about Elisa, visit her websites at www.onthelip.com or Executive Golf International www.execgolfintl.com.