“Grudge-fueled piece of character assassination”

Tiger Woods’ extraordinary career in professional golf has made him a public figure of great relevance. No wonder he has given thousands of interviews, including a fictitious one, which will be 10 years old this December.

This fake interview was published in the print edition of Golf Digest by journalist Dan Jenkins in December 2014. The piece was intended as a parody, but for Tiger Woods there was nothing funny about it. In fact, the 15-time Major champion demanded a public apology from the media outlet.

Tiger Woods (Image via USA Today)

The interview was available before its print edition and Tiger Woods published an article in The Player’s Tribune about it, giving the piece the title “Not True, Not Funny.” Woods claimed that Jenkins’ article “was below the belt.”

Here’s part of what Tiger Woods said about the fake interview:

“Jenkins faked an interview, which fails as parody, and is really more like a grudge-fueled piece of character assassination. Journalistically and ethically, can you sink any lower…?”This concocted article was below the belt. 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, too.”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.”My representatives and I asked Golf Digest for an explanation, some reason for what I think is journalistically wrong and a pretty cheap shot. Digest responded by saying it was Dan’s humor, and they didn’t think it was unfair or they wouldn’t have run it. Those aren’t great answers.”What did Dan Jenkins say about Tiger Woods?

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Dan Jenkins’ piece published in December 2014 stated from its title that it was a fake interview (“My (Fake) interview with Tiger; or how it plays out in my mind”). The article was illustrated with images of a person resembling Tiger Woods in different poses.

During the “interview,” Jenkins made direct references to the six-year period that, at the time, Woods had gone without winning a Major. It would be another four years and 10 months before Woods would win his next Major (the Masters, 2019).

However, in the period between his final two Majors (2008 – 2019), Woods won 15 PGA Tour tournaments and finished in 11 Top 10s in Major championships.

Jenkins also attributed to Woods (with the alleged intent to parody him), expressions such as that he likes to fire people, that he had forgotten about his friend Mark O’Meara and that he labeled Sergio Garcia a “Crybaby,” among others.

Dan Jenkins was an important American writer and journalist, who passed away in 2019. He wrote more than 20 books, mostly on sports, and was also a regular contributor to Sports Illustrated.

Jenkins was also a high-profile amateur golfer. He played golf for Texas Christian University, in 1993 was exalted to the Texas Golf Hall of Fame and in 2012, to the World Golf Hall of Fame.

 

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