Tiger Woods likes to think he has a good sense of humor. Woods likes to think he is willing to laugh at himself. With an angry rebuke of Golf Digest for a piece of satire in its latest issue, he may have ensured that no one else will think either of those things.
Incensed by a piece entitled "My (Fake) Interview With Tiger," by award-winning sportswriter and author Dan Jenkins, that appears in the magazine's December issue, Woods vented on The Players' Tribune, a website founded by former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter to give athletes a forum for communicating directly with fans.
Woods slammed the satirical imagined conversation as a "grudge-fueled piece of character assassination" and questioned the integrity of Jenkins, inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2012, and the magazine. Jenkins, 84, has been a longtime critic of Woods, according to ESPN.
"Journalistically and ethically, can you sink any lower?" Woods asked in his lengthy takedown of the piece titled "Not True, Not Funny."
In an apparent attempt to have some fun at the expense of the 14-time major winner, Jenkins' fictitious chat touched on Woods' off-course controversies and his history of working with -- and firing -- various coaches. Woods made it very clear that he did not approve of the faux interview format and took offense to the content of the story.
"I like to think I have a good sense of humor, and that I’m more than willing to laugh at myself. In this game, you have to. I’ve been playing golf for a long time, 20 years on the PGA Tour. 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," Woods wrote. "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 defended the piece and its presentation in a statement issued to For The Win:
The Q&A is clearly labeled as "fake," both on our cover and in the headline. The article stands on its own.
Jenkins seemed to take the controversy in stride. He may have even gotten an idea for his next column out of it:
Woods' attack on the piece likely brought it far more attention than it would have otherwise received. This did not go unnoticed by ESPN's Rick Reilly: