Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tiger's tale hits home for golf world, NBA great, porn star

ORLANDO, Florida — Tiger Woods may have irked some with the timing of his television interviews, but his humbling self-analysis drew praise from PGA rival Jim Furyk and NBA star Magic Johnson.

Woods, who will end a nearly five-month break next month at the Masters, spoke to ESPN and The Golf Channel on Sunday about his infidelity in interviews that were broadcast just as Furyk was winning the PGA Transitions Championship.

"We are a little bit disappointed that they chose to air that story at the conclusion of a very exciting tournament," said Transitions managing director David Cole. "We invest a lot of money (seven million dollars) as a title sponsor."

But Furyk understood that the latest chapter in the soap opera that Woods's life has become would trump his personal triumph.

"I wish him well," he added. "I think it's good for him to get his face out there and have people see him. They are going to make their judgments, but I think it allows him to move on and get focused for the next thing."

Woods spoke of multiple affairs and his own break from the core values that helped mold him into a 14-time major champion.

"I tried to stop and I couldn't stop and it was just, it was horrific," he said.

"It was really tough to look at what I had become. That's pretty brutal. I saw a person (in the mirror) I never thought I would ever become."

The story hit home all too well for Johnson, who retired in 1991 after revealing that he had contracted the HIV virus, making brief comebacks for the 1992 Olympics and in the NBA.

Johnson told the Philadelphia Daily News that he was pleased Woods would return to golf.

"I'm glad he's back. I think he should be back," Johnson said. "You have to apologize first to your wife and kids. He did that, I'm sure. Then you apologize to the sponsors and fans. Then you move on.

"You can't live in the past. You've got to get out there and do what you do. He's a golfer, the world's best, so get out there."

Woods kept quiet when asked about many details of his numerous affairs, the November 27 auto crash that launched the scandal and his current relationship with wife Elin.

But The Golf Channel reported that former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer was no longer part of the golf star's media advisory team.

Fleischer "feels like he's becoming too big a part of the story," said The Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman. "He felt like that it was time for Tiger to have complete due and his name doesn't need to keep coming up."

Woods's name came up on the website of porn star Joslyn James, who posted emails and text messages purportedly from Woods that suggested she and Woods were texting each other during last year's PGA Buick Open near Flint, Michigan.

The Flint Journal reported that the messages were on the days of the first and second rounds of the tournament that Woods struggled through and eventually won, and indicated the sender had very little sleep.

Woods said July 30 was "probably one of the worst putting days I've ever had" but on the same day, James claims, Woods sent a message to set up a rendezvous.

"I will leave an envelope at the front desk under ms daniels. Your room will be 305. Get settled and let me know when you are ready to see me. I will be in room 201. You can come down the stair well next to your room. Make sure absolutely no one sees you," the message on James's site said.

An evening text read, "Just so you know i have to get up at 415 tomorrow" while another at 1:27 in the morning said, "Did you get lost. Door is open."

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