From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Tiger Woods prepared for Bay Hill return; will have Ari Fleischer in tow

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The more things change, the more they stay the same when it comes to Tiger Woods. After his press conference a couple weeks ago, many pundits (myself included) thought we’d seen a vision of the real Tiger Woods — a golfer with feelings and emotions; maybe even one we could really relate to on some level.

But could that already be changing before Tiger even hits a shot? While the word surrounding Woods’ return to the game is the biggest story in golf right now, the word that he’s got Ari Fleischer on his side is a bit disconcerting. Fleischer, who worked as an adviser for President Bush during his time in office, has been tapped to help Woods build a blueprint for his return to professional golf.

Mind you, this is the same man who once had Mark McGwire and the BCS as clients during their rough patches; and we all saw how Big Mac and the BCS turned out. People loved them … right?!?

Quite honestly, this appears to be a lateral move by Woods, who already has IMG representing his well-being. So why bring in another guy who supposedly runs his own sports communications firm to help him out? Maybe he’s doing it because Fleisher’s firm is actually owned by, you guessed it, IMG!

Here’s the dirt via Deadspin:

According to a shadowy person friendly with this site, Fleischer wasn’t hired because he’s great at his job:

I called some PGA folks. Was a very odd situation there. [Tiger] used – until this moment – his internal guy, who used to be at the Masters. Not surprising that Ari got it. It doesn’t mean that he’s actually being paid though. Ari hasn’t been able to really build any type of business since he started, and that’s despite the fact that his partner is IMG. Only reason he got Tiger is because IMG reps him. Tiger has still failed to bring someone in who isn’t beholden to IMG. Sucks for him.

Eh, I’m not sure what to think about this. This either looks like a big PR move to make it seem like Woods is distancing himself from IMG by picking up a new spin master; or he’s got something else up his sleeve that we don’t know about. And again, it look like we’re back to cloak-and-dagger Tiger!

Whatever happens from here on out, I don’t think we’ll one day look back on this whole fiasco and think, “man, thank God Tiger had Ari Fleischer in his corner when he made his comeback!” It just won’t happen. If anything, this move just keeps Tiger under the magnifying glass before he makes his return at Bay Hill The Tavistock Cup.


Written by Jonathan Wall

03/11/2010 at 9:43 pm

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