Anybody who has seen the ill-timed, ill-considered, just plain ill Tiger Woods advert could be forgiven for thinking that Nike have a new ouija board to market. How else can you explain this macabre 30 seconds in which Woods' father, Earl, makes contact from beyond the grave?
"Tiger, I am more prone to be inquisitive, to promote discussion," comes the croaky voice as his son coldly stares into the camera, wearing a cap with the obligatory huge swoosh. "I want to find out what your thinking was; I want to find out what your feelings are. Did you learn anything?"
So what has he learnt? To listen to advisers who assure him it is all right to use the scandal to flog his sponsors' equipment? To listen to advisers who insist there's nothing at all hypocritical in complaining about the intrusion into his family's privacy and then to parody a private discussion between himself and his dead dad? To listen to advisers who say it's not remotely distasteful to base a marketing campaign on an addict's rehabilitation and in the process borrow words from a dead dad's past and put them into his lifeless mouth?
Yep, Tiger has learnt all that. Those advisers of his do know what they are doing.
World No 1 stays for second course
Credit to Tiger Woods for turning up at the Golf Writers' Association of America awards dinner on Wednesday night and hanging around for longer than the soup course. Usually he turns up, picks up his player of the year gong and heads for the near exit. This time he picked it up and remained for an hour or more in the company of journalists who have written some brutal things about him in the last five months. Can you imagine John Terry doing the same at the equivalent Football Writers' Association night in London next month? But then, Terry won't win the FWA's player of the year award. So he won't have to.
Nicklaus Open trip needs taxpayers' aid
So Jack Nicklaus will only show up at the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Open at St Andrews in July if the Royal Bank of Scotland – aka the British public – chuck him a few quid. He does not see the point of travelling all that way to play in the four-hole Champions Challenge. In truth, he has always hated these ceremonial spectaculars. In the 2000 Open at the Old Course, Nicklaus was initially going to skip the first staging of this past-winners' exhibition, even though he was there that week anyway. He only took part under pressure from his wife, Barbara. Will this good woman come to the R&A's rescue again this year? As he was at Augusta yesterday in the role of ceremonial starter alongside Arnold Palmer we can only hope so. We can't have the second greatest's sincerity questioned as well as that of the greatest.
Harrington proves he can talk the talk
Padraig Harrington also picked up an award from the GWAA and after his speech the writers have vowed to find a way to honour him every year from now on. Woods himself joined in with the standing ovation and was also seen giggling himself silly at the Dubliner's opening quip – "Two Irishmen walk out of a bar... No, really, they did."
Today's selected tee times
Today's tee-off times (US unless stated, all times BST, (x) denotes amateur):
1619 I Woosnam (Wal), B Gay, M Leishman (Aus)
1641 J Senden (Aus), D Toms, G McDowell (N Irl)
1714 M Kaymer (Ger), G Ogilvy (Aus), L Donald (Eng)
1747 D Johnson, O Wilson (Eng), A Quiros (Sp)
1758 M Weir (Can), L Westwood (Eng), (x) M Manassero (It)
1809 C Campbell, F Molinari (It), P Casey (Eng)
1820 E Els (SA), A Kim, R Ishikawa (Japan)
1831 A Cabrera (Arg), J Furyk, (x) An Byeong-hun (Kor)
1842 P Mickelson, R Allenby (Aus), Y E Yang (Kor)
1250 B Crane, S Dyson (Eng), M Campbell (NZ)
1301 L Mize, R Palmer, C Wood (Eng)
1334 R Moore, R Fisher (Eng), N Watney
1418 C Villegas (Col), K Perry, R McIlroy (N Irl)
1513 C Schwartzel (SA), S Cink, P Harrington (Ire)
1524 Y Ikeda (Jpn), I Poulter (GB), S Stricker
1535 T Woods, M Kuchar, K J Choi (Kor)
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