ORLANDO, Fla. – The dissonance and disconnect continue.
A few days ago in Atlanta, former world No. 1 Tiger Woods said he had family obligations that this week precluded him from making a last-ditch attempt at qualifying for the much-hyped FedEx Cup playoffs.
Then he spent Tuesday posing for new video game animation and publicity shots.
As though things aren’t bad enough on the golf course for Woods, already plunging down the world rankings after missing the cut last week at the 93rd PGA Championship, he’s all but begging to get hammered over his latest myopic management decision.
Without clarifying, Woods indicated in Atlanta that he had family obligations this week, which most assumed meant he had custodial scheduling issues with his children that could not be reworked.
Fine, dandy. Feel free to examine that logic at your leisure, if you so desire, especially since he claimed for two straight week that he needs “reps” in order to get his game back.
Seem like a mixed message? We’re just getting started.
Woods spent Tuesday at EA Sports in suburban Orlando filming computer footage for a new version of his video game, then engaged in a publicity stunt to promote sales by playing a teenager who won a national contest for the right to face Woods on the virtual golf course.
Maybe it’s just me, but what message does that send to Greensboro, the million-dollar FedEx Cup series title sponsors, the TV networks paying rights fees and golf in general – even if he does have custody of the kids?
Amazingly, the PGA Tour saw fit to pimp the EA Sports publicity stunts on its website Friday, even though Woods’ decision to skip Greensboro reads an awful lot like a tacit message that he doesn’t care about the FedEx Cup – or not enough to choose playing actual golf in lieu of satisfying one of his last remaining endorsement clients.
Custody of the kids or not, it smells all wrong and screams, “I am not there.”
Turning Tuesday’s EA Sports outing into a series of propaganda stunts – publicity photos of Woods at the video shoot were splashed over at least two notable golf-related websites Thursday -- is just plain begging for more criticism and scrutiny at a time when Woods can ill afford it.
This week in Greensboro, a slew of big names like three-time major winners Padraig Harrington, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh are trying to make the cut and move up in the FedEx Cup standing. This marks the last week to secure additional points in order to qualify for the four-event playoff series beginning next week at The Barclays in Edison, N.J.
As for Woods, all the public knows for sure is that he spent one day this week helping hawk a video game.
PGA Tour communications chief Ty Votaw acknowledged Friday that the organization has a licensing deal with EA Sports, but would not elaborate about revenue percentages or other financial particulars of the contract.
Votaw also declined to discuss or express an opinion about whether Woods’ decision to conduct corporate-related business instead of playing at least indirectly sends the wrong message about the importance of the FedEx Cup.
As for the kid from Indiana who won the right to play Woods on his video game? The PGA Tour story noted that the 19-year-old held a 10-shot lead over Woods at one point.