Tiger Schools Dan Jenkins
By Torleif Sorenson on 11/19/14
For the December 2014 issue of Golf Digest, longtime golf writer Dan Jenkins wrote something this writer has never seen at any other time in a major golf publication: An imaginary interview.

Jenkins has been a famous golf writer and columnist for decades and now serves as the "curmudgeon voice" of the magazine, injecting his own brand of humor into his columns. But for his December piece, Jenkins attempted to pounce upon Woods's extramarital affairs and perceived aloofness, penning an entire "interview" with Tiger Woods intended as a blend of humor, sarcasm, and creative writing.

Among the "tidbits" that Jenkins intended to make readers ROTFL is this knee-slapping sequence:
Why haven't you fired Steiny, by the way? You've fired everybody else. Three gurus, Butch, Hank and Sean Foley. Two caddies, Fluff and Stevie. Your first agent, Hughes Norton, who made you rich before you'd won anything. Other minions.
I'll probably get around to it.

I like to fire people. It gives me something to do when I'm not shaping my shots.

You must have fired Marko. Don't hear much about him these days.
Who?

Mark O'Meara. Your old buddy.
The name sounds familiar.
Woods fired right back at Jenkins and Golf Digest in this column on The Players' Tribune, Derek Jeter's new web site:
I’ve given lots of interviews to journalists in all that time, more than I could count, and some have been good and some not so much. All athletes know that we will be under scrutiny from the media. But 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.

...

Golf Digest even hired an actor to pose as me in photos. 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 as an athlete, as a professional and as a person. I guess Golf Digest's editors believe this is a good way to sell more magazines. I’ll bet their readers don’t think so. Funny they didn't think this poorly of me when I worked with the magazine. I have to say I was surprised when I saw this piece came from Jenkins, who is one of the most distinguished golf writers out there.
Woods is dead-on correct in faulting Golf Digest's editors, chiefly Jerry Tarde. For a magazine that has never posted a fake interview, let alone going to the trouble of hiring a Tiger-look-alike for the column, Tarde and his editorial staff stepped in it. That was below the belt, indeed. If they had resorted to cartoonish drawings, perhaps it might not have been so over-the-line.

Tiger's agent and his company VP, Mark Steinberg and Glenn Greenspan, respectively, sent a letter to Chuck Townsend, CEO of Conde Nast, corporate parent of Golf Digest:



In this writer's opinion, Woods, Steinberg, and Greenspan are spot-on. Remember that earlier this year, Golf Digest editor Jerry Tarde signed off on putting beginning golfer / Los Angeles socialite / widely-reputed cocaine-abuser Paulina Gretzky on the May 2014 cover in a blatant cheesecake pose, in an obvious attempt to sell magazines and to re-brand itself as the more "lifestyle-conscious" golf publication:



Tarde's decision came back to haunt him in a firestorm of criticism that came not just from LPGA players, but from across the worlds of golf and journalism.

In the case of Jenkins's latest column, Tarde must have deferred to Jenkins's stature as a established golf writer. But again, Tarde's editorial judgement has failed miserably.

And what is next for Golf Digest?
  • Will Dan Jenkins write an imaginary interview with Phil Mickelson about insider trading?

  • Will Dan Jenkins write an imaginary interview with Stacy Lewis purporting to show scars from her back surgery?

  • Will Dan Jenkins write an imaginary interview with the late University of North Florida women's golf team member Tess Huber, who died in a tragic plane crash last December? This writer can just imagine Jenkins posing this doozy: "Tess baby, how does it feel to face-plant into the instrument panel of a Cessna 310?"

While only one person in recorded history has ever been perfect, and people make mistakes all the time, Jenkins crossed the line here — and he should exercise better judgement. He needs to go back to the writing style he still does well — and ditch the Dan Rather / Maureen Dowd / "method acting" school of journalism.

And we hope that Jerry Tarde, who has edited that magazine for a very long time, recommits himself and Golf Digest to avoiding any more ugly errors like these. At his age, he should have known better. Again.


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Images via Twitter, Kyle Porter


[ comments ]
GolfSmith7 says:
I read the fake interview before Tiger even responded since I subscribe to the digital version of the magazine. I did not find it funny at all. I didn't even know the writer is some famous dude but he sounded bitter. I thought the article took cheap shots and it left a bad taste. It was like someone telling a joke that not only falls flats but manages to offend.
11/19/14
 
jasonfish11 says:
I didn't even bother reading it. Coincidently that month's golf digest was accompanied by a notice that I've not paid for another subscription and this would be my last one.

I got tired of reading the same thing over and over every month. Oh forward shaft lean is important to hit good irons? Wow, hitting the ball on the upswing helps reduce driver spin? Glad you didn't tell me this same thing the last 7 months.

It would be nice to see something like. Forward shaft lean is important, here are the signs of you not having enough forward lean, here are some tips to help with it.

Instead of just copious articles telling me the same thing over and over and over with no real advice as to how to implement or fix the problem.
11/19/14
 
joe jones says:
I have mostly enjoyed Jenkins writing in the past whether it was as a columnist or author of some great fiction. He seems to have sunk to a new level with this piece of yellow journalism. Jerry Tarde and Golf Digest have joined trash publications like Star etc. This article has a smell about it and it ain't a good smell.
11/19/14
 
Jattruia says:
"While only one person in recorded history has ever been perfect..." Not sure I follow this.
11/19/14
 
jasonfish11 says:
I think he was referencing Jesus. Seems like an odd and devisive thing to say given the context of the article as a whole.
11/19/14
 
Jattruia says:
Kind of what i was wondering. Seems like an odd place to state that opinion (on a golf blog,) and pretty loose definition of 'recorded history.'
11/19/14
 
homermania says:
I'm glad the Tiger camp responded in this way. I couldn't believe Golf Digest dedicated so much space to a fake interview. Though, they were very clear that it wasn't real, you know there's somebody out there taking it at face value. At the very least, it should have been related to the back page. Pure slander.
11/19/14
 
legitimatebeef says:
It's not so much about Jenkins. Tiger is mad at Golf Digest, a magazine that he used to do instructional articles for and probably one that he read devotedly growing up. No doubt he sold truckloads of magazines for them back in the day. Many people say many nasty things about Woods all the time and I doubt the world's most famous sportsman for the last 17 years running has a thin skin, so it would seem that he is specifically trying to hold GD's feet to the fire, because probably he wouldn't have expected such a nasty sentiment to come from them.
11/19/14
 
falcon50driver says:
Only one perfect person in recorded history? He was referring to me, I'm pretty sure.
11/20/14
 
jasonfish11 says:
Kim Jung ill
11/20/14
 
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