Golf Digest published spoof interview about Tiger Woods by journalist Dan Jenkins
Angry Woods describes piece as 'invented fiction'
Golfer hits back on Players' Tribune website
Other journalists jump to Jenkins' defence
Tiger Woods is back on the prowl – and this time he’s after a journalist who has had the temerity to poke fun at him.
It was clearly defined as a parody interview, but Woods’ angry reaction to a piece by Dan Jenkins in Golf Digest has raised questions over whether the golf star was correct to respond – and whether the journalist was right to write the spoof in the first place.
Jenkins, who said he had had a request for an interview with Woods turned down by the player’s agent Mark Steinberg because “we don’t see what we’d have to gain,” goes to town poking fun at his target.
He highlights Woods’ title drought – he hasn’t won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open – mentions ‘Woods’ habit of firing people (“It gives me something to do when I’m not shaping my shots”) and, oh, adds that he’s a bad tipper.
Jenkins’ parody also has ‘Woods’ responding to a question about the New York Post headlines generated by his affairs by saying the moral of his story is “don’t get caught.”
The fake interview also quotes the golfer as saying he thought about renaming his yacht Serenity, “but that pretty much went out the door when the nine-iron hit the window of the Escalade,” a reference to an incident in 2009 that sparked a media storm around Woods’ private life. The golfer was divorced from Elin Nordegren in 2010.
Headlined ‘My (Fake) Interview With Tiger*,’the parody’s sub-heading is: ‘*or how it plays out in my mind.’
But Woods’ angry response, in which he said Jenkins had created “some jerk… to pretend he was talking to me,” has elevated its status from that of a story near the back of the magazine’s December issue into front page news.
The 38-year-old American chose the Players’ Tribune website – created by former New York Yankees baseball star Derek Jeter – as his forum to lambast the 84-year-old writer for “a grudge-fuelled piece of character assassination.”
Describing Jenkins’ work as “invented fiction” and saying it “fails as parody,” Woods angrily asks: “Journalistically and ethically, can you sink any lower?”
He writes: “I like to think I have a good sense of humor, and that I’m more than willing to laugh at myself. 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.”
Steinberg, who is repeatedly referred to in the spoof, has written to the magazine to call for an apology.
But Jenkins was in no mood to say sorry, tweeting that he had given Woods an easy ride.
James Corrigan, the golf correspondent of British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, defended the spoof and said Woods’ reaction was “pathetic – the self-pitying cries of an arrogant and yes, ignorant billionaire. You couldn’t have made it up, even if you tried.”
Corrigan added: “Warning for any easily offended sporting superstar out there: if you really do not want everyone to read a negative article, then do not tell everyone not to read it. Because, erm, everyone will then go and read it.
“Parodies imitate with the intention to lampoon. The target is not supposed to find them amusing. Other people are. And many other people are doing exactly that in huge numbers, thanks to Woods’ intervention.”
Writing in USA Today, Christine Brennan opined: “I think we can be assured it’s a complete success as parody, because Tiger is so upset about it.”