Transitions exec upset at timing

Updated: March 22, 2010, 2:09 AM ET
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

PALM HARBOR, Fla. -- An executive with Transitions Optical was not pleased Sunday night that Tiger Woods' first interviews may have upstaged the PGA Tour event his company sponsors at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club.

While Jim Furyk was on the 18th green, two putts away from his 14th career PGA Tour victory, five-minute interviews conducted with Woods aired on both ESPN and the Golf Channel.

"I would say that given our partnership with the Golf Channel, we are a little bit disappointed that they chose to air that story at the conclusion of a very exciting tournament," said David Cole, managing director for Transitions. "We invest a lot of money in the Transitions Championship as a title sponsor."

The interviews -- Woods' first since a sex scandal caused him to take a leave from the game -- aired at 7:30 p.m., just as the weather-delayed tournament was coming to an end. Had weather not been a factor, the tournament would have gone off the air at 6 p.m.

Both ESPN and Golf Channel had begun promoting the interviews at 6:30 p.m.

NBC-TV had broadcast rights to the tournament and did not interrupt coverage nor did it reference Woods.

Transitions, which is in the second year of a four-year deal to sponsor the tournament, pays an estimated $7 million annually as part of its agreement with the PGA Tour, plus a sponsored Golf Channel segment that airs immediately after the conclusion of each round.

Furyk joked about the Woods interview afterward, saying that nobody was watching his tournament-clinching putt.

"I can live with it and I'm fine with it," Furyk said. "Some day it's all going to go away, and I'll be fine with that, as well."

Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com.

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com