Woods' anger will lead to U.S. victory
STRAFFAN, Ireland -- I wouldn't want to be Trevor White today. In fact, I'm pretty sure Trevor White doesn't want to be Trevor White today.
White is the editor of The Dubliner magazine. Or at least he is until Tiger Woods releases the hounds from the law firm of Cut, Throat & Associates. That's what happens when you publish a nude photo purportedly of Woods' wife, Elin, along with captions that say she can be seen "in a variety of sweaty poses on porn sites across the web."
You could have steamed a pair of linen pants on Woods' forehead Wednesday, that's how upset he was about the recently published story that featured this headline: "Ryder Cup Filth For Ireland." And thanks to the spectacularly ill-advised story and photos, I now predict a Woods-led U.S. victory over the Europeans -- both in golf and in the courtroom.
During an early afternoon news conference, Woods struggled to keep his composure as he opened the session with a statement about the magazine article. Much like his poignant sobfest after winning the British Open two months ago, this was a rare Woods moment when he didn't, or couldn't, hide his emotions.
"My wife, yes, she has been a model prior and she did some bikini photos," Woods said. "But to link her to porn Web sites and such is unacceptable. And I do not accept that at all. Neither does our team."
And later: "... I know the media can be a little bit difficult at times, but when you [pause] ... it's hard to be diplomatic about this when you have so much emotion involved, when my wife is involved in this."
The Dubliner didn't limit its story to Elin. It pretty much insulted every U.S.-born player and his selection of spouse.
"Most American golfers are married to women who cannot keep their clothes on in public," the story stated. "Is it too much to ask that they leave them at home for the Ryder Cup?"
I'm sorry, I'm confused. Leave the wives at home, or the clothes? And by the way, Elin Nordegren is from Sweden. That's in Europe.
The story described Amy Lepard, wife of U.S. Ryder Cup player Chad Campbell, as a "large-chested singer." It said David Toms' wife, Sonya, wears a bikini around the house because it's "liberating." And it said Jim Furyk's wife, Tabitha, wasn't interested in him until he became a multimillionaire.
I looked up Lepard's Web site on Google and, well, let's just say the Chadster did OK for himself. And if Sonya, who posed for Sports Illustrated in a bikini, wants to wear a two-piecer around the Toms manse, then God bless her. I've been trying to get the Ball & Chain to do the same thing for years. As for Tabitha Furyk, maybe she loves loopy swings.
The point is, Woods and the U.S. team are ticked off. And when Woods is ticked, people pay. Fuzzy Zoeller, Phil Mickelson, former Tiger caddie Mike "Fluff" Cowan, former Tiger agent Hughes Norton and Stephen Ames can tell you all about the width and breadth of Tiger's displeasure.
Now, it's The Dubliner's turn to pay. The magazine forgot the general rule of thumb among athletes: You can rip the player, but no mama or wife jokes allowed. The Dubliner broke both thumbs.
"... Just don't let the facts get in the way of a good story, and sometimes that happens, and I think this was a clear incident of that," said Woods, who repeatedly said his "disappointment" was with The Dubliner, not with the Euros or the Irish.
I called the magazine shortly after Woods' news conference and asked to speak with White. I was put on hold, then told White, as well as any other person on the magazine masthead, was unavailable.
"You realize this is becoming quite the story here at the Ryder Cup," I said.
"We're in production at the moment and will be for the whole week," The Dubliner receptionist said. "But thank you so much for your time." Click.
But late Wednesday afternoon, a statement from The Dubliner magically appeared in the media tent. It said that the "satirical" article was "inappropriate" and that the publishers "unreservedly apologise."
Remember the scene in "A Fish Called Wanda," where John Cleese is held upside down out a window and forced to offer a sputtering series of apologies? This was The Dubliner being held out of the window.
Of course, there was no mention of the photos. Maybe they forgot about them. Woods and his lawyers won't.
This is all very bad news for Team Euro. Woods already is determined to improve on his 5-10-1 pairs record in Ryder Cup play. And there's no doubt U.S. captain Tom Lehman considers Woods the team leader. Now, as corny as it might sound, Woods has something else to play for: his wife.
"You do things ... for the people you love and you care about," Woods said. "My father got ridiculed for years, and I always felt for my father and my mother the same way. My wife, we're in it together. We're a team and we do things as a team, and I care about her with all my heart."
Mrs. Woods will be following Mr. Woods during his likely five Ryder Cup matches this week. If the USA wins -- and it will -- here's guessing husband will make sure wife gets a swig of victory champagne. After all, she earned it.
Gene Wojciechowski is the senior national columnist for ESPN.com. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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2006 Ryder Cup
Where: The K Club, Palmer Course; Straffan, Ireland
Yardage/Par: 7,335 yards; par 72
2006 champion: Europe
• Ryder Cup scoring
Day 3 coverage
• Wojciechowski: How to reverse Ryder Cup curse
• Fact or Fiction: Who is to blame for the U.S. loss?
• Sobel: Europe rides its 12 gold stars to victory
• Sirak: U.S. needs to make some changes
• Kreidler: Brother, can you spare a win for the U.S.?
• Sobel: Ryder report cards
• Europe gets quick start, wins Ryder Cup
• Sobel blog: Why U.S. players don't care
• Ryder Cup Day 3 analysis
• Emotions run high
• Water hazard: Caddie drops Woods' nine iron in pond
• Stalschmidt: Challenges of Match Play
• Sobel: Sunday singles preview
Day 2 coverage
• Wojciechowski: It's all over
• Sobel: Foursomes analysis
• Sobel: Fourballs analysis
• What's wrong with Tiger?
• Saturday Ryder Cup recap
• Sobel: Saturday fourballs preview
Day 1 coverage
• Wojciechowski: Still grieving, Clarke's a winner
• Kreidler: U.S. struggles a coincidence?
• Sirak: Europeans go deep
• Friday Ryder Cup recap
• Sobel: Friday fourballs analysis
• Sobel: Friday foursomes analysis
• Ryder Cup pairings: Woods teams with Furyk
• Sobel: Why the U.S. will win
• Sirak: Why Europe will win
• Ryder Cup experts' predictions
• Burke: Why the U.S. keeps losing
• Turcotte: Time for the nastiness
• Wojciechowski: Team USA gets thumbs up from Team USA
• Wojciechowski: Woods' anger will lead to U.S. victory
• Sobel: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em
• Ryder Cup poll
• Sirak: For first time, U.S. is underdog
• Rosaforte: Irish eyes smiling on Harrington
• Huggan: Woosie's ready to rack 'em up
• Diaz: Lehman learns to face his fears
• Huggan: Stenson's been to hell and back
• Fields: Wake up the echoes
• Hawkins: Tiger brings renewed vigor to Cup
• On the Hot Seat: Zach Johnson
• Shedloski: U.S. rookies in the spotlight
• Weekly 18: Recent results won't matter
• Verdi: Furyk's advice to the U.S.
• Photo gallery: The K Club
• Barton: Money talks at The K Club
• ESPN Travel: Check out Dublin
• Sobel: Rookies will be key
• Captains agree to lift, clean and place if weather bad
• Magazine insulting Tiger's wife pulled from shelves
• Three people injured at windblown Ryder Cup
• Course map: the K Club
• Huggan: Ryder Cup viewer's guide
• On The Tee at the Ryder Cup