The torrent of bad news has been unrelenting, with steamy, saucy developments revealed almost daily as the tabloids and celebrity websites chase secret sources, cops leaking documents or folks who knew a dude who once met a chick who served Tiger Woods a glass of orange juice at a Florida pancake house.
Based on sheer volume, it looks darned incriminating. Woods even admitted, however vaguely, to committing indiscretions.
But Thursday, there was a development that should give us pause. To those sitting in the jury box at the court of public opinion, be aware that a news report was posted on a tabloid magazine website that was flatly denied and appears to have been just plain wrong.
“This makes me question the credibility of the other [Tiger] stories, too,” said Tommy Limbaugh, a longtime agent for several PGA Tour players.
The tabloid Life & Style on Thursday posted a story that included scathing comments attributed to one of Limbaugh’s clients, Ben Crane. He was quoted as saying, verbatim: “This is no surprise to anyone who knows Tiger. He's a phony and a fake and he can't retain that squeaky-clean endorsement deal any longer."
Limbaugh said he called the magazine and was told that the interview with Crane was conducted last week at PGA Tour Qualifying School finals. One problem – Crane is fully exempt for 2010 and never set foot in West Palm Beach, Fla., where the finals were staged. Charles Warren, another tour veteran who played at the finals and was quoted in the story, likewise denied speaking with the reporter and said he hadn’t been interviewed by anybody in months.
“Once something is out there, how do you pull it back when it’s wrong?” Limbaugh said. “When the bloggers get hold of it, how do you fix it?”
Limbaugh said the sequence of events has made him rethink the whole Woods feeding frenzy. With Woods remaining mum and refusing to confirm or deny any of the reports, either from tabloids, gossip websites or more traditional news outlets, the easy temptation is to believe almost all of it.
“After what we have been through, I can’t believe all those other stories are true,” Limbaugh said. “I can’t imagine what the Tiger camp is going through. This was one instance [where facts are in dispute]. They are dealing with a runaway train. It has taken on a life of its own.”
When it’s a hot topic, stuff can go viral in a heartbeat.
“I see the bloggers winning and Tiger losing,” Limbaugh said. “There’s just so much stuff out there that hasn’t been confirmed by anybody.”