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Guest post: Elin Holds the Cards

Posted by ZA on March 9, 2010

BrandDunk has covered different aspects of how Tiger Woods situation will affect his endorsements.  Today we have a talented guest author who offers a fresh perspective on the situation to let sponsors know when to expect a return to normal.


This guest post is authored by Casey Harverstick, a freelance writer who has written for and ESPN the Magazine. Casey is an avid golfer who resides in Austin, Texas – you can email him at

Elin Holds the Cards

Much time has passed since “the wreck.”  Tiger Woods has made his much-anticipated, very public apology.  Since Tiger made it clear he’s not going to discuss what happened the night of the accident, two big questions still remain:  When will Tiger return to competitive golf?  Will Tiger and Elin remain married?

One person has the answer to these questions.  That person is not Tiger.  It’s his wife, Elin.  How the media and its revelations have impacted Elin – not Tiger – is an interesting and less frequently viewed angle.  Below is a breakdown of how various factors of this story could impact Elin’s decision.

Tiger’s Soliloquy (aka: Tiger’s apology)

Surely Elin was pleased with what Tiger said.  However I can’t help but think she was upset that he had to say it in that forum.  She’s obviously a private person.  That Tiger had to apologize to the entire world for being an awful husband couldn’t sit well.  By the time he spoke publicly, he had probably apologized to her 1000 times.  So this one wasn’t really about her at all.  It wouldn’t surprise me if she didn’t even watch.  And it definitely didn’t surprise me that she wasn’t there.

Impact on Elin: Non-factor

Hard to look at it that way, considering this was easily the biggest, most scrutinized event since the accident itself.  Elin had already heard versions of that speech ten times over by the time he stepped to the podium.  Mostly, it served to embarrass.  And provide the public with his face on camera.

The Women and Their Stories

Rachel Uchitel was the first Tiger Woods mistress to be revealed

This situation completely went out of control when it became evident that there were a lot more than just a couple women.  Per the Hillary Clinton corollary, I got the feeling Elin could possibly forgive a tryst with one woman, maybe two.  When we got into double digits, I assumed it would be a deal breaker.  Conversely, the double digit tally also paved the way for the “rehab.”  As if to say a man who sleeps around with one woman isn’t pathological.  The rehab gave Tiger something to focus on – parameters and rules and, maybe most importantly, he had a reason for his behavior.  An addiction.  Anyway, out of everything that came out, this had to be the most damning.  Especially considering it got so much media attention.  That it happened so publicly and crudely only hurts Tiger’s chances – at golf and reconciliation.  These were surely the darkest, hardest days for Elin.  It’s one thing to find out your spouse is cheating on you.  It’s another to find out about it on ESPN.

Impact on Elin: Big factor.

Ultimately, could end the marriage.  And could definitely delay Tiger’s return to the course.  If he’s fighting to keep her – however one goes about that – it will definitely not behoove him to pound balls nine hours a day while she shops or hangs out with the kids.  That said, you can’t just sit down at the dining room table and hash this out in a night or two.  But not playing doesn’t fix anything either.  Around and around we go.

Stevie’s Interview and Tiger’s Inner Circle

Tiger Woods caddie, Steve Williams, speaks out

Steve Williams, Tigers’ caddie/friend/bodyguard, has pleaded ignorance to Tiger’s philandering from the outset (Stevie’s comments on Tiger).  And like everyone else who read that, I found it incredibly hard to believe.  He’s sticking by it.  It’s important to note this isn’t your standard player-caddie relationship.  Tiger was the best man at Stevie’s wedding.  Tiger covered Stevie in tears after winning the British Open in 2006 shortly after his father’s death. He cried more on Stevie’s shoulder than he did on his mother’s or Elin’s.  It’s not like they go their separate ways after every round.  Tiger typically rents houses during tournament weeks to avoid the public – and because money isn’t an issue.  All these nights Tiger strayed Stevie wasn’t staying at a Motel 6 and he definitely wasn’t camped out in the front yard.  This interview reads like a direct plea to Elin:  Don’t make Tiger fire me.  Stevie can’t be the only one sweating his future.  From the onset there has been much speculation about Tiger’s entourage.  With reconciliation a possibility, would Elin allow Stevie, Byron Bell (best friend from childhood), Mark Steinberg (agent) and numerous other confidants to stay in the inner circle?  Tiger makes all of these people a lot of money.  Millions and millions of dollars at stake here.  This is not to say Tiger isn’t solely responsible for his actions.  But she must feel scorned by these people – they’re her friends, too.  Or at least she thought they were.

Impact on Elin: Small factor for Tiger’s return; non-factor for their reconciliation.

I’m not sure putting Tiger in time out and not letting him play with his friends will serve any other purpose than to make him unhappy – and cost him money.  Granted, that might sound pleasant in itself to her.  I doubt Elin believes Stevie was ignorant of everything, but she’s got her hands full without picking a new caddie for Tiger.  Steinberg is an agent – and nobody likes or trusts agents.  There isn’t a successful agent in the world who wouldn’t cover up for Tiger Woods, if given the chance.  That said, assuming a reconciliation is in the works, there will be discussions between Elin and Tiger about who he spends his time with on the road.  These discussions could definitely lead to a delay in his return or a change to his normal playing schedule.

Tiger’s College Girlfriend’s Article

Tiger Woods college girlfriend, Irene Folstrom published this article from Tiger Woods former girlfriend from his days at Stanford.

Impact on Elin: None

Laughably transparent and self-serving.  Let me get this straight, you’re coming to Tiger’s defense by saying he treated you well in college?  How would Elin read this?  Do you want her to be happy for you?  I have an easier time believing Stevie didn’t know Tiger was in orgies than believing Tiger never cheated on this one.  I hope Elin never read it.  For my money, this is the cheapest, most unattractive story I’ve come across and I’m surprised it got published on a non-tabloid website.  I’ve listed it here only as an example of the lengths the media will go to get a headline when there’s a lull.

Regarding their marriage, I don’t have a rooting interest.  I do hope the kids can have somewhat of a normal childhood (which was probably a long shot the moment they were born).  As a golf fan, I’d like to see Tiger back at Bay Hill and then, of course, The Masters.  The game misses him.  The networks and sponsors definitely miss him.  To borrow Reggie Jackson’s line, he stirs the drink.  If I could ask Tiger just one thing, it would be this:

Would you mind if I asked Elin a question?


Much time has passed since “the wreck.”  Tiger has made his much-anticipated, very public apology.  Since Tiger made it clear he’s not going to discuss what happened the night of the accident, two big questions still remain:  When will Tiger return to competitive golf?  Will Tiger and Elin remain married?

One person has the answer to these questions.  That person is not Tiger.  It’s his wife, Elin.  How the media and its revelations have impacted Elin – not Tiger – is an interesting and less frequently viewed angle.  Below is a breakdown of how various factors of this story could impact Elin’s decision.

Posted in Golf, Random Stuff, Sports Brands | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Columnist slams fellow journalists as Tiger haters

Posted by ZA on December 4, 2009

Jason Whitlock seems to always know how to get some attention.  I remember reading a column he wrote when he was still writing for the Kansas City newspaper that slammed the state of Texas and my Texas Longhorns as poor hosts of the Big 12 Basketball Tournament.  That column got a lot of attention with Longhorn fans because he was attacking our team, so naturally he got a lot of hate mail.

I quickly got over my distaste for that article, but have always wondered if his schtick is to be the incendiary columnist.  I’ve actually enjoyed a lot of his stuff in the last few years because he isn’t afraid to let it all hang out.  But I do think he sometimes picks topics that he knows will draw a big reaction from readers (as many journalists do).  Not that there is anything wrong with that; starting a conversation is often a great thing.  I was a bit shocked by his recent column on Tiger Woods because he really goes over the top to slam his fellow journalists.  A few of the highlights (or lowlights, if you prefer) below:

* “…the media, especially the print media, want to be needed.  We’re an insecure lot, dealing with festering childhood insecurities about popularity and sexuality.”   – I’ll agree the first statement is fairly true, but I’m not touching that second part.

* Tears into Charlie Pierce saying “Pierce should’ve opened his column by admitting he dislikes Woods and his opinion is skewed by that bias.”  Whitlock goes on to tell an interesting anecdote about Pierce trashing Bill Simmons because the Sports Guy had told Pierce to ‘go **** himself’ back in 2002.  Not sure if either is true, but the theory that Pierce attacks those he holds grudges against is a smack in the face to him.

* “I’m sharing this because it’s important for the public to know that the media act dishonestly all the time.  We’re far more phony than Tiger Woods ever could be.” – Wow, Whitlock might lose a few Christmas cards from his fellow journalists with that line.  I can’t comment on other people, but I do know that my opinions are often biased when I’m writing something here.  So it’s easy to imagine plenty of journalists writing something with an agenda.

* Whitlock then rips into ESPN’s Rick Reilly about an article he wrote in 2004 on Colorado football coach Gary Barnett.  Reilly criticized Barnett for the same thing that Whitlock says happened at Reilly’s own house.  I’m surprised to see Whitlock attack Rick Reilly in that way, but see the point he is making.

Go read the article by Jason Whitlock at FoxSports.  It’s nothing if not interesting.

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ESPN’s “30 for 30” is worth watching

Posted by ZA on October 8, 2009

I don’t usually promote on behalf of the Worldwide Leader (mostly because they don’t need me to) but I think their new “30 for 30” series is worth watching.  And not just because Bill Simmons (aka: the Sports Guy) was responsible for getting the series made.  ESPN  launched this new series of sports stories that detail important sports moments over the past 30 years.   The concept was to select a subject that was well known, but then tell the unknown story behind that topic.  Each of the documentaries will be directed by feature films director.

I watched the first one this week called King’s Ransom which was directed by Peter Berg.  Kings Ransom was the story of the trade that sent Wayne Gretzky from Edmonton to Los Angeles.  Director Peter Berg really got into the behind the scenes dealings and emotions that helped to pull off the deal.  He also focused on the pain, anger, anguish that Edmonton fans felt after their star player was traded.  He exposed the role that Gretzky played in making the deal happen.  He even wrapped it up neatly in the end with most agreeing it was a trade that had to be made.  Even thought the deal hurt the Edmonton Oilers and their faithful, it was still a trade that had to happen.

The ratings on this first installment were not stellar, but I think it’s a series that is worth watching.  As sports fans we often only hear the big stories in the media.  This program, modeled after HBO Real Sports, tells the less known story.  That’s personally something that I love.  Here are a few of the future episodes that I’m looking forward to watching:

* Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL – airs October 20th
* Muhammad and Larry – Oct 27
* The Legend of Jimmy the Greek – Nov 10
* No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson – 2010
* Jordan Rides the Bus – 2010
* June 17, 1994 (story of OJ Simpson’s run from police in white Bronco) – 2010
* Steve Bartman: Catching Hell – 2010
* One Night in Vegas – 2010
* The Best That Never Was – 2010
Complete list here at ESPN’s 30 for 30 website.

My only complaint about the series is that they are going to make me wait 9 months to see all of these great features.

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Listen to my Business of Sports segment on ESPN Radio

Posted by ZA on September 1, 2009

I’m doing a guest segment on ESPN Radio each Monday & Thursday at 4:50pm.  The topic is the business of sports and particularly focuses on the games each weekend that will have most impact on future ticket prices.  Example: If Oklahoma State beats Georgia this weekend, that is likely to increase demand (ticket prices) for their games against Texas and Oklahoma.  I’ve been doing the spot for a few weeks now and I think it’s pretty informative each week…based on the feedback I’ve been getting from people who listen.

Click here to listen via live streaming on their website.

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Best way to pass time during a rain delay?

Posted by ZA on May 27, 2009

Best way to pass the time during a rain delay at a baseball game?
How about a dance off on the field between the two squads.

Not what you normally see when you head to the ballpark, but entertaining all the same.  This was a impromptu dance off that broke out during the rain delay in the UConn versus South Florida college baseball game.

Most of these guys will never play in the Major Leagues, but they certainly have the bravado to go far in life.

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Soccer player shot during victory celebration

Posted by ZA on March 25, 2009

Iraq is a dangerous country, but it just doesn’t seem fair for an 18-year old to die while celebrating a victory.  I know, I know…life isn’t always fair.  My prayers to the young man’s family and friends.

Story from New York Times about an Iraqi soccer player who was shot after his game, by an off-duty cop.

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Economy expected to worsen in 2009

Posted by ZA on February 23, 2009

An Associated Press story on the negative report released by the National Association for Business Economics.  They are forecasting a worse economy in 2009 than originally predicted and expect the unemployment rate could surpass 10%.  If that comes true it will be the worse contraction of the US economy in over 25 years.


If you are looking for the silver lining in this otherwise gloomy story, it is that they expect the economy to start to rebound in the second half of 2009.  They say the growth will not be substantial, but it will be positive growth.  Goes on to say that things should be in much better shape in 2010, although the unemployment rate could stay high to start the year.

Another positive thought to keep in-mind; if you are good at what you do, then there will still be demand for you.  Companies still need talent, even in a hiring freeze, but they are only going to hire the top talent.  So make sure you are that person.

No way to know how accurate these predictions are, but pretty much everyone is saying its going to be a rough Spring and Summer.  Time for everyone to put our heads down and work hard to ride out this economic tsunami.

Posted in Random Stuff | 1 Comment »

We are in worst stock decline since Great Depression

Posted by ZA on November 20, 2008

When will the stock market rebound?

My broker sent this chart to me today in an email.  He said it was “positive news” and a reason for “hope”.  I like his enthusiasm, but long for the days in our relationship when he played a role that was more Warren Buffet than Tony Robbins.  I guess these days his only hope is to go the Dr. Phil route with clients; laying us down on the couch to hear our pain and then trying to fix it.

Stock Market Rebound?

When will the Stock Market rebound? The trillion dollar question.

Our current “decline” surpassed 50% this week, so we’re not in the midst of the worst decline since the Great Depression.  Our second worst decline in history.  Truly amazing!  And scary.  I hope we can turn this thing around soon.

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Thomas Friedman knows “How to Fix a Flat”

Posted by ZA on November 13, 2008

Why do I find myself agreeing with Thomas Friedman so much?  Not sure, but I like his books and I like his columns in the New York Times.  His recent NY Times column offers his ideas on the proposed government bailout of the Detroit auto industry.  It’s a worthwhile read, I found myself nodding a lot.  I even liked his somewhat far fetched idea about bringing in Steve Jobs.  It could work, right?

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Who wins in this global financial crisis?

Posted by ZA on September 30, 2008

Financial markets in the United States, and in certain othter markets around the Globe are in crisis mode.  So sometimes you’ve got to take a humorous look at the situation.  A partner at Sansome Partners made a graph to “handicap” the current financial situation, one that equates this current situation to the NCAA Tournament – a single elimination knockout tournament.

I added my picks for who is going to win the Global Financial 4.  I’ve got Warren Buffett leading his Berkshire Hathaway team to a resounding victory over JP Morgan in the Financial 4.

Who wins the Financial 4?

Who wins the Financial 4?

Credit for the graphic: Mark Slavonia at Sansome Partners & Techcrunch.

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