Golfweek cover raises ire of PGA Tour commissioner
Updated: January 17, 2008, 12:53 PM ET
Golfweek Magazine, as part of a package of stories on the controversy involving Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman's comment that players should "lynch [Tiger Woods] in a back alley," used the image of a noose on the cover of its Jan. 19 issue.
That decision has added fuel to a flap which has seen Tilghman suspended for two weeks from her anchoring duties. Woods' agent said he considers Tilghman's remark a "non-issue."
Golfweek is one of two major national golf news magazines. Golf World, which has an editorial relationship with ESPN.com, is the other.
"Was it an arresting image? "Yes, it was," Golfweek editor Dave Seanor told USA Today. "We chose it because it was an image we thought would draw attention to an issue we thought deserved some intelligent dialogue."
"There was a great deal of debate over it," Seanor said of the magazine's in-house deliberations, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. "But it was the news of the week, no question about it. That's what everybody in the game is talking about."
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, in a statement, said: "Clearly, what Kelly said was inappropriate and unfortunate and she obviously regrets her choice of words. But we consider Golfweek's imagery of a swinging noose on its cover to be outrageous and irresponsible. It smacks of tabloid journalism. It was a naked attempt to inflame and keep alive an incident that was heading to an appropriate conclusion."
During Golf Channel's Jan. 4 telecast, Tilghman was in a conversation with analyst Nick Faldo about how PGA Tour players could stop Woods' dominance when she used the phrase about lynching. Golf Channel received few complaints. Tilghman apologized personally to Woods and on the telecast two days later. She was suspended prior to the Sony Open in Hawaii.
In an editorial in the magazine, the editors wrote: "Like it or not, Tilghman's 'Lynch him in a back alley' remark about Tiger Woods was national news. The debate about the severity of her punishment -- at this writing a two-week suspension -- fueled heated debate on Web sites, in newspapers and on national TV. The furor begs rational analysis."
Prior to Tilghman's suspension,Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, said, "it is a complete non-issue. Kelly and Tiger are friends. It might have been a poor choice of words, but there was absolutely no ill intent whatsoever."
Tilghman issued her own statement, saying she "used some poorly chosen words. I have known Tiger for 12 years and I have apologized directly to him. I also apologize to our viewers who may have been offended."
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