Tiger Woods responded angrily to a satirical Golf Digest faux interview with him, claiming that celebrated sports writer Dan Jenkins could not have sunk any lower “journalistically and ethically.”
Expressing himself in Derek Jeter’s athlete website The Players’ Tribune, Tiger condemned Jenkins, a notorious Tiger basher, for composing a fake interview with the golfer, which Tiger says “fails as parody, and is really more like a grudge-fueled piece of character assassination.”
Tiger explained that he has a good sense of humor and easily laughs at himself, but Jenkins’s piece was mean-spirited and a journalistic punch “below the belt.” He asserted that “Good-natured satire is one thing, but no fair-minded writer would put someone in the position of having to publicly deny that he mistreats his friends, takes pleasure in firing people, and stiffs on tips–and a lot of other slurs.”
Jenkins makes fun of Tiger’s divorce and suggests that the golf legend is a cheapskate and fires people for fun. Here are some excerpts of the mock interview with “fake Tiger” and Jenkins’ unsuccessful attempts at humor:
Dan: You have a house as big as Luxembourg. What do you do in it all day?
Fake Tiger: Let me think. Uh, new video games come out. I putt on the carpets. A closet somewhere needs color-coordinating. And of course there’s always somebody to fire.
Dan: Why haven’t you fired Steiny, (Mark Steinberg, Tiger’s agent) by the way? You’ve fired everybody else. Three gurus, Butch, Hank and Sean Foley. Two caddies, Fluff and Stevie. Your first agent, Hughes Norton, who made you rich before you’d won anything. (Of course Tiger made everyone on this list very wealthy men, which Jenkins fails to point out.)
Fake Tiger: I’ll probably get around to it. I like to fire people. It gives me something to do when I’m not shaping my shots.
Dan: You must have fired Marko. Don’t hear much about him these days.
Fake Tiger: Who?
Dan: Mark O’Meara. Your old buddy.
Fake Tiger: The name sounds familiar.
Dan: Marko was your best friend in golf at one time.
Fake Tiger: I’m sorry, I can’t place him. Did he play the tour?
Dan: You’ve been incredibly rich and obscenely rich. Which is better?
Fake Tiger: Does Elin get a vote?
Dan: You haven’t talked about it, but after all of those New York Post front pages during the scandal, what’s the moral of your story?
Fake Tiger: That’s easy. Don’t get caught.
Tiger Woods isn’t the only one to convey a distaste for Jenkins’s parody. Mark Steinberg weighed in with a caustic letter to Charles Townshend the CEO of Conde Nast, Golf Digest‘s publisher, accusing Jenkins of slander and asking him “if any other person in golf has been subjected to this treatment in your magazines?” Steinberg said, moreover, “We can’t recall any piece remotely like this. We certainly can’t imagine any of the golfers that are frequent contributors to the magazine being attacked like this.”
Tiger’s agent called Jenkins a “Fabulist” for stooping to “this underhanded technique.” Steinberg assailed Jenkins for having a long standing “personal hostility for Mr. Woods.” He added that “It is not enough to claim that Mr. Jenkins is an “opinion writer” or that this is mere “parody” when under that guise Mr. Jenkins makes a litany of disparagements that are either baseless or demonstrably untrue.”
Steinberg concluded the letter by requesting “a formal response to these questions on how journalistically or ethically this piece is acceptable, and we are also asking for a written apology. We hope you’ll agree that what credibility the magazine still has requires it.”