Woods must face responsibilities, says Norman

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The Independent Online

Greg Norman, who knows a thing or two about being in the media spotlight, has expressed sympathy for Tiger Woods, but said the world No 1 must face up to his responsibilities.

Norman has had two marriage break-ups, most recently from tennis great Chris Evert just a year after their wedding.

"I feel sorry for Tiger, but he's got to figure out his situation for himself personally," said the Australian at the annual Shark Shootout in Florida. "From the game of golf I'm sure we'd like to see him back out there performing to the level he has played.

"He's been a great asset to the game and he'll continue to be that way. But from a personal perspective I wish him well. I hope he sorts it out – family is family and nobody likes to be in that position. I'm sure he'll work it all out."

Asked about possible damage to sponsorship, Norman added: "There's obviously some damage control that will have to be put into place. There's no question about that – he is the leader of the pack. He does represent the PGA Tour. He does represent golf in a lot of ways, so will there be an impact.

"I really can't make a comment on that, but I'm sure there are people thinking about it, reacting about it, making assumptions and what's it going to be like for the next year when he comes out and plays again. Or is he going to come out and play again? There's all this speculation out there and, quite honestly, what is really the truth?"

In a television interview with the Golf Channel, Norman also commented that Woods "has the right to privacy, but he also has responsibilities as a public figure". He added: "Things like that should stay behind closed doors, but then again we are public figures. There are times when people feel like they can reach through the TV screen and say 'I own you, I know you because I buy a product you represent'.

"That's a part of it. You have to accept that responsibility. Unfortunately, the media are the media. They support you on the way up and, when you need them, you use them just as much as they use us. And when you step across the line you've got to kind of take a little bit of the wrath of God, or whatever you want to call it. You don't want to see any residual fall-out into the game."

Two American golfers quoted by a weekly American magazine as making disparaging remarks about Woods and his marriage have said that they never spoke to the publication. In a story that Life & Style posted on its website, Ben Crane is quoted as saying Woods is a "phony and a fake" and that Woods' wife knew about allegations of extra-marital affairs. It also quotes Charles Warren as saying Woods' wife "had stars in her eyes and maybe dollar signs too" and should leave him.

The magazine said in a statement it was investigating. "This is unbelievable," Crane said from his Dallas-area home. "I never said a word about anything. They print this and put my name next to it."

Warren said through his agent that he has not given an interview of any kind in two months.