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Is Tiger Woods' video interview a sign of the future?

May 02, 2012
  • Tiger Woods decided not to address the media during the lead-up to the Wells Fargo Championship this week.
Tiger Woods decided not to address the media during the lead-up to the Wells… (Jeff Siner / MCT )

Tiger Woods did not hold a news conference before this week's Wells Fargo Championship. Instead, he answered questions from fans in a video posted on his website. The questions were submitted through Facebook and Twitter.

Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss whether this is a sign of things to come in sports. Feel free to join the conversation with a comment of your own.

Diane Pucin, Los Angeles Times

Tiger Woods is coming back on the tour this week to play the Wells Fargo Championship, and being such a man of the people he has chosen to answer questions received on his website or his Twitter account rather than do an interview session with actual journalists. 

First question came from Beth and it had to do with how many practice rounds he’ll play, and he took 14 minutes of questions, more than he would have done for the working media. But he wasn’t asked, for example, what is making him so stubbornly committed to making a swing change that doesn’t seem to be working or if he’s read Hank Haney’s book yet or whether it annoys him that his potty mouth is always broadcast or whether he has regrets about drop-kicking a golf club at Augusta.

Would love to see lots of advance stories this week without a word about Woods. He is Mr. Irrelevant at the moment, to borrow an NFL draft term.

Bill Kline, Allentown Morning Call

Tiger Woods' video is a harbinger not only for sports but for society at large. Increasingly, athletes, celebrities, businesses, institutions and even politicians are bypassing the news media and talking directly to their fans/customers/constituents.

They're doing so via Twitter, Facebook, email blasts and, of course, their websites. They vet their comments through their marketing and PR machines, and they avoid tough or embarrassing questions.

It's bad for the public, which receives a carefully controlled side of the athlete or celebrity, and it's certainly bad for news media and chilling for a relatively transparent society. And whereas it might seem like this was Tiger’s best stroke in years, in the long run a voracious public will want more information that only an aggressive news media can provide.

Jeff Shain, Orlando Sentinel

If a dozen athletes aren’t already looking into the possibility, their agents certainly are. For the athlete who finds himself in a little bit of hot water in the headlines, it might even become standard fare.

Say what you will about the packaging or the handpicked questions, the idea is bound to score brownie points with fans. And if someone wants to know which trophy you think is the “coolest” – hey, thanks for asking!

The slippery slope comes if, as Woods chose to do, the straight-to-video option creates an either/or scenario. Woods could have invested the 20 minutes Tuesday or Wednesday for his first confab with reporters since his Masters dud, but the video was a way to opt out.

For governing bodies with strong media access guidelines, there should be no problem. For those who don’t, a battle looms.

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Is Tiger Woods' video interview a sign of the future in sports?

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