Tiger's news conference makes this a Masters like none other
If you're curious how
"It is mistake to look at Tiger Woods as a sports figure," Levin says. "He is a celebrity. He is not in the niche of sports. Celebrities can be cooks, actors, musicians, athletes or politicians. Each area has an A-list and a B-list, and Tiger is an 'A' and an 'A' across all categories. He is one of the most famous people on the planet, and people are interested."
That's an understatement. The news conference is scheduled to air live on CNBC, CNN, Fox Business Channel, Fox News Channel, ESPN News, Golf Channel, Headline News and MSNBC among other cable networks. SI.com and
"As to how we will play the press conference, we have to see what he says," said
The press interview room housing Woods will hold 180 reporters, with Augusta National officials limiting seating to one reporter for each accredited media outlet, with only a few exceptions. No members of the tabloid press will be there, nor will they get a sniff of the azaleas or dogwoods (at least officially) during tournament week. The Masters credential application deadline passed on Feb. 1 and
Three weeks ago, CBS News and Sports president
While Monday's news conference should be a circus, there is a consensus among the tournament's broadcasters that the coverage for the rest of the week will be focused inside the Augusta National gates. "I don't think there is a lot of reason to dwell on what has happened in the past," said McManus, "because it is one of the most exploited and overexposed stories in recent memory."
Golf Channel senior vice president for programming and news
TMZ's focus, of course, will not be on how well
But Levin did say he does not expect Masters week to produce much revelatory news about the golfer. "I think there will be a frenzy around him, but I don't think people will get much," said Levin. "What will be eventful this week is the golf course. People who are not interested in golf will be riveted by the game, and I include myself in the ranks. I don't watch golf, but I will watch this tournament."
In 2003, Burk, the then-chairwoman of the National Council of Women's Organizations, led a demonstration outside Augusta National to protest the club's male-only membership policy. Augusta residents were much more worried about that situation, according to
Michaux said Augusta National has tight control of its perimeter and complete control on site. The club has its own private security firm, Securitas, as well as a group of plain clothes agents working the gallery.
The best bet for TMZ or other entertainment outlets to get inside the club would be to purchase badges from the secondary market, such as an online broker. (Four-day badge are being offered for $2,400, according to GoldenTickets.com.) But getting photos of Woods will be difficult. No cameras are allowed on tournament dates (you can bring a camera into the practice rounds) and cell phones are prohibited.
Washington Road, the route into and out of the golf course, is the likely spot for television trucks and paparazzi, but one well-connected Augusta business owner told SI.com that many businesses have refused to sell badges or rent spaces to organizations they thought would besmirch Augusta National's or the town's image. One thing is for certain: Expect plenty of townspeople to get interviewed about the extra media presence. "It's not often I get interviewed by CNN on Easter Sunday," Augusta Mayor
If there's a wild card among the media, it's the National Enquirer. The tabloid initiated the media frenzy when it published a story on Nov. 25 alleging Woods had been seeing a New York nightclub hostess. Then came the early-morning crash two days later outside his Orlando-area home, when he suffered minor injuries after striking a fire hydrant and a tree with his Cadillac SUV. SI.com's calls to executive editor
"This has all the elements of a real-life soap opera," Levin told ESPN. "It has sex, love and betrayal. It has remorse, it has stakes, and it has sex, money and good-looking people. It is mystery with twists and turns -- the perfect soap opera. It is a big story for us and a big story for everyone. If anyone says it's not, they're lying."
Powell said his office has fielded calls from both TMZ and the syndicated TV show Extra asking about the security of the event and where they could set up. "We told them where they could be -- public property and that's it," Powell said. "We've heard they will be here and we've prepared for them, but I don't think it will be as bad as everyone is picturing it. I hope it ain't, anyway. You know, it will be nice when this will just be a golf tournament again."