Reality Vs. Wishful Thinking: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson

REALITY: Christine Brennan, sports writer for USA Today, tells us, in “Tiger Woods is a Changed Man“:

There was a perceptible stiffness as he walked the course and swung a club.

This is what the back end of one of the great careers in sports looks and sounds like.  Woods is 38 1/2 years old, with a body that skews older.

WISHFUL THINKING: Kyle Porter, golf writer for CBS sports, thinks it is still 2001 and that Woods is a  25-year-old:

The point is that he looked athletic and pain-free and, at times, downright spry.

And, in another Porter piece:

It looked more natural — that super athletic motion we’ve grown up with, it looked like Woods had it going on again at Congressional.

So don’t be fooled by the 7 over score, if you’re a Tiger fan, be encouraged that he looked as comfortable over his golf ball as he has in a very long time.

We’re used to the golf media being out of touch with reality when it comes to Tiger Woods.  With Phil Mickelson, they only recently found themselves forced to move into fantasyland.

REALITY: “Dean Foods Receives a Subpoena in an Investigation Into Mickelson’s Trades“:

Federal authorities are seeking information from Dean Foods as part of an investigation into well-timed trades placed by the championship golfer Phil Mickelson and the well-known sports gambler William T. Walters.

Prosecutors working for Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, recently subpoenaed the food and beverage company for documents, according to people briefed on the matter. The request came shortly after published reports disclosed that the federal authorities were investigating whether Mr. Walters and Mr. Mickelson possessed inside information about Dean Foods’s plan to announce a spinoff of its WhiteWave Foods subsidiary in August 2012.

Shortly before the spinoff was announced, Mr. Walters and Mr. Mickelson placed separate trades in the stock of Dean Foods, according to another person briefed on the matter. Those trades generated more than $15 million in proceeds for Mr. Walters and nearly $1 million for Mr. Mickelson, that person said. Shares of Dean Foods soared nearly 41 percent after the company formally announced the planned spinoff on Aug. 8.

Remember when the news broke about Phil Mickelson trading stocks/options using inside information?  Do you remember the indignation and outrage expressed by the golf media when the original leak turned out to be slightly inaccurate regarding Clorox stock?

The key element the golf media so wanted to sweep under the rug was that the investigation concerned two stocks (that we know about), Clorox and Dean Foods.  In the golf media’s rush to clear the name of their Golden Geezer (“Golden Boy” just doesn’t work with a 44-year-old), they pretended Dean Foods didn’t exist.  I know nothing!  I know nothing!

Wishful Thinking.  Here are a few of the many see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil golf media headlines:

Golf Digest: “The New York Times backtracks on Mickelson insider-trading story”

Fox Sports: “Report: Phil Mickelson cleared in Clorox insider-trading probe”

UPI: “Phil Mickelson reportedly cleared of insider trading”

CyberGolf (CBS Sports): “Mickelson Cleared of Insider Trading According to New York Times’ Report”

“According to a New York Times report published Wednesday night, Phil Mickelson has been cleared of any wrongdoing in a federal insider-trading probe involving billionaire investor Carl Icahn and sports gambler Billy Walters of Las Vegas.”

Note that inserting ” involving Carl Icahn” makes this technically true.

Golf Digest, again: “A lot went right Thursday for Phil Mickelson, on and off the course”

“After the round Mickelson was asked about a New York Times report essentially absolving him of possible criminal charges in the insider-trading story broken two weeks ago.”

When I saw Geoff Shackelford was the author, I wanted to vomit.  Shackelford is one of the few golf writers I respect.  But this?  It isn’t just a case of deception and misdirection, it is outright lying.   (If he had mentioned Icahn — Icahn not being part of the Dean Foods investigation — he would have at least had a technical claim to honesty.)

One television reporter approached Mickelson after a round and told him, breathlessly, he had been cleared of all wrongdoing, apparently expecting Mickelson to jump up and down like a man on trial after hearing a jury return a “not guilty” verdict.  (Mickelson, for his part, took little joy, and kept his cards close to his vest, knowing, of course, far more about the situation than the gleeful reporter.)

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2 Responses to Reality Vs. Wishful Thinking: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson

  1. ANON says:

    In Christine Brennan’s USA Today piece, “Tiger Woods is a Changed Man,” she states that we’re looking at the back end of a great career. Did Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire have great baseball careers? Of course not. They cheated. Tiger Woods has been cheating all along. Where has Ms Brennan been? Hogan, Snead, Nelson, and Nicklaus all had great careers without cheating. Get a grip, Ms Brennan! Do your homework! There just are not many Completely top notch golf journalists.

  2. Pingback: Geoff Shackelford’s “The Future of Golf” — Book Review, Installment 1 | Lanny H Golf

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