Tiger Woods’ emergence from self-imposed exile tomorrow (Feb. 19) in what is shaping up to be a tightly controlled public apology in front of sympathetic bystanders including “friends and colleagues,” may be rather anticlimactic given the tenor of coverage since the golfer’s serial adultery came to light last November.
But the cable news networks will be there live. And ESPN, Golf Channel and broadcast networks ABC, CBS and NBC plan to interrupt regular programming to cover the press conference, which will take place at 11 a.m. at the clubhouse of the T.P.C. Sawgrass at PGA Tour headquarters in Florida.
The announcement came yesterday from Mark Steinberg and Glenn Greenspan, Woods’ agent and publicist, respectively. Woods is not likely to take questions from reporters. And only a select few will even be allowed in the same room. The rest of the inevitable media gaggle will be shunted to a separate room where there will be a video feed.
The public apology and announcement comes in advance of the Tavistock Cup on March 22 and the Masters in April, both of which Woods is expected to participate in.
But the choreographed event also deprives television news of a bite at a sure ratings bonanza. Bookers for news programs had been working furiously to secure Woods for a prime-time mea culpa. Many had already become resigned to the fact that Woods would not submit to what has become a media staple in a scandal-obsessed culture. And while tomorrow’s event is not likely to be particularly illuminating, it appears it is all we and the media will get - for now.
UPDATE: The broadcast networks will produce special reports for Woods’ statement. Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos will anchor for ABC. Katie Couric anchors for CBS and Matt Lauer will anchor from Vancouver for NBC.