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Christine Daniels SOUND AND VISION

First a glitch, then an apology

January 25, 2008|Christine Daniels

Kelly Tilghman was back on the air Thursday, presumably apologizing about the comment that led to her two-week suspension as a Golf Channel anchor, although for a few seconds you couldn't be sure unless you could read lips.

A technical glitch silenced the first five seconds of Tilghman's taped apology, her first 2 1/2 sentences, before the audio began.

The immediate reaction was to ask what in the world was the Golf Channel doing -- deciding to cut Tilghman's microphone now, rather than on Jan. 4, when the damage was done?

The Golf Channel scrambled, quickly issuing Tilghman's complete statement in text form and posting the entire 21-second clip on its website:

"I'm Kelly Tilghman. It's an honor to be with you again. In a recent live broadcast I used an inappropriate word that was offensive to many. Over the last two weeks, I've taken the time to reflect and truly understand the impact of what I said. While I did not intend to offend anyone, I understand why those words were hurtful. I am terribly sorry for any hurt that I've caused. I would like to express my deepest apologies."

Tilghman was suspended after making a bad joke about what golfers should do to stop Tiger Woods' dominance. During a Jan. 4 telecast of the Mercedes-Benz Championship, the Golf Channel anchor said the only way to stop Woods was to "lynch him in a back alley."

During the ensuing two weeks, Tilghman's comment became media debate fodder, as did Woods' response, in which the golfer tried to defuse the controversy by saying he considered Tilghman a friend and had already accepted the personal apology she had made to him.

This caused Woods to be criticized for not being more critical of Tilghman. Thursday morning, NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown joined that chorus while being interviewed on ESPN`s "First Take."

"He should have come out right away," Brown said of Woods. "Instead, he waited until it was politically correct.

"The word 'lynch' . . . there is no redeeming part of it. When you say 'lynch,' you're going to have to pay the price. That is a very embarrassing word, a humiliating one, in the history of our country."

Eventually on Thursday, everybody got back to watching Woods play golf.

He made his 2008 tour debut at the Buick Invitational, shooting a five-under 67, leaving him tied for third place after one round.

The Golf Channel, using CBS' on-site production facilities, will televise today's second round, beginning at noon. CBS will take over with Saturday and Sunday coverage starting at noon.

Also available for viewing this weekend:

Australian Open (women's final tonight, 6:30 p.m., ESPN2; men's final, Sunday, 12:30 a.m, ESPN2): Greetings from Melbourne, where WTA officials would like to know if an off switch is available for Maria Sharapova's father, Yuri Sharapov. Sharapov again found a way to distract from his daughter's on-court success, causing a furor by making what appeared to be a throat-slitting gesture after Sharapova's quarterfinal defeat of Justine Henin.

After spending far too much time answering questions about dad during her semifinal postmatch news conference, Sharapova will face Ana Ivanovic in the women's final, hopeful of an improvement over last year. Sharapova lost the 2007 final to Serena Williams, 6-1, 6-2.

U.S. Figure Skating Championships (Saturday, 1 p.m. and 8 p.m., delayed, Channel 4; Sunday, 7 p.m., delayed, Channel 4): After 43 years on ABC/ESPN, the U.S. championships have moved to NBC, which is devoting five hours of prime-time coverage to the event, which is a departure.

During a conference call this week, analyst Scott Hamilton said, "It broke my heart to see the men's event take place in the middle of the night on ESPN2 last year. To get that prime-time respect that NBC is giving it will really show the United States that skating is a prime-time network event."

NBC Sports figure skating producer David Michaels said, "When my mom used to go look to see where she could watch the U.S. Figure Skating Championships the last few years, she couldn't figure it out. So, at least the moms of America will be able to tune in."

NHL All-Star game (Sunday, 3 p.m., Versus): Four members of the Stanley Cup champion Ducks join a single King, Anze Kopitar, on the Western Conference All-Stars. Ryan Getzlaf, Chris Pronger, Corey Perry and Scott Niedermayer will represent the Ducks, Niedermayer pioneering a revolutionary new way to break into the All-Star game: Sit out until mid-December, play 17 games, win 12, wait for some injuries at the position you play, come on down to Atlanta as a replacement selection!

Super Bowls I through XLI (starting Saturday, 8 a.m., NFL Network): This is what the NFL Network does during the down time before a Super Bowl, rolling out what it is calling "TV's longest Super Bowl pregame show: 9 days!" Saturday and Sunday, the network will run half-hour highlight clips of all 41 Super Bowls, interrupting the marathon only for a humane 4 1/2 -hour break Saturday afternoon. Yes, some time must be devoted to Senior Bowl coverage.

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christine.daniels@latimes.com

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