SBD/Issue 59/Sports Media

NBC Avoids Tiger Story During Coverage Of Chevron Tournament

NBC on Saturday opened its coverage of the Chevron World Challenge without specifically addressing the scandal surrounding tournament host Tiger Woods. NBC's Dan Hicks said, "The No. 1 ranked player in the world, Tiger Woods, is not here, electing to withdraw from his tournament. Just over a week ago he was involved in a car accident, so no Tiger Woods this year at the 2009 Chevron World Challenge. Nevertheless, his tournament, which has always benefited the Tiger Woods Foundation, goes on” (“Chevron World Challenge,” NBC, 12/5). In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones wrote it was "not a surprise," but it was "disappointing that NBC did not address the Tiger Woods situation." By "ignoring the story, NBC, rightly or wrongly, comes off as if it is either afraid of Woods or protecting him" (TAMPABAY.com, 12/6). In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes Woods on Saturday, "for the first time in his 13-year pro career," was deemed "commercially unacceptable and/or inappropriate during a golf telecast." NBC's three-hour tournament coverage "did not include even one commercial starring Woods," though he "did twice appear, briefly, in a PGA Tour 'image' ad" (N.Y. POST, 12/7).

STORY STRETCHING BEYOND SPORTS MEDIA: CBS' Bob Schieffer talked about Woods' travails on "Face The Nation," saying, "As his life came apart last week, he was still complaining about being put upon, about not being able to lead a normal life. Sorry, Tiger. We all make mistakes, but if you wanted to be normal, you should’ve taken Arnie’s advice: just play golf with your friends on Saturdays, like the rest of us" ("Face The Nation," CBS, 12/6). Meanwhile, NBC's "SNL" was among several late-night programs over the weekend that touched on Woods' current situation (THE DAILY).

TIME FOR TELL-ALL? USA TODAY's Michael McCarthy reports "The Oprah Winfrey Show," ESPN and Golf Channel all said that they have requested an "on-camera interview" with Woods. CBS' "60 Minutes" also is "likely in the hunt." HBO Sports VP/Sports Publicity & Media Relations Ray Stallone said that HBO also "put in a request but was turned down." Meanwhile, "Oprah" spokesperson Don Halcombe denied a blog report that Winfrey "had personally called" Woods, saying that is "not true" (USATODAY.com, 12/7). In London, Kevin Garside wrote Woods' reps are "probably talking to Oprah's people now." Garside: "Too early, perhaps, for a Christmas Special, but don't bet against it. All will be timed to purge Tiger's soul in time for the Masters in April" (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 12/5).

TRAFFIC JAM: Hitwise reported that traffic to TigerWoods.com peaked last Wednesday, the day Woods apologized for his transgressions in a statement on the site, as visits increased 377% over the previous day. Visits to the site on Wednesday also were up 45% over traffic on November 29, when Woods first addressed his early morning accident in a statement on his Web site (TWITTER.com, 12/4).

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