Monday, 30 November 2009

Tis' the season for non golf related golf stories...

And as if it's not bad enough that Tiger's embroiled in a media scandal, reports are now being made that Padraig Harrington has lost millions on an investment in a technology company gone badly awry. Padraig has long had connections with Irish financier Dermot Desmond - a man richly involved in the world of sport through his horse-racing ventures, has been a shareholder in Man United and owns roughly a third of Celtic Football Club (three of Irelands greatest sporting passions covered there!) and it's with Desmond that this investment was reportedly made.

They are said to have made a total investment of stg£21.8 million into U4EA Technologies in Britain over several years. However, U4EA went into administration in July.

What proportion of this investment was Harringtons is unclear but it seems he would have taken a significant hit. It's likely that Desmond would be the larger investor - he is currently 4th on the Irish Rich List and could probably stand to lose a bit more than Padraig.

Harrington has been dogged with speculation recently that he has lost money both when the Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford revelations came to light, which seemed to have no real foundation. He did say at the time though that he had actually been lucky to have signed the sponsorship deals he has, at the time he did, as they are now looking very favourable in the current economic climate. With the amount of advertising that has been featuring the world number four recently, along with the not insignificant prize money he's accumulated, I think he may be alright to weather this storm. I very much doubt he put all his eggs into this one particular basket.

Even if he is in Dire straits, yer man Desmond should be good for a few quid in a tight spot...

I just hope that as with Tiger, trouble in his personal life does not effect his game on the course, just when he's been rediscovering the form which made him a major winner.

Tiger speaks - says very little...

So Tiger has come out and made a statement in which he's pretty much said nothing to clarify what actually went on other than to smack down rumours circulating about the actions of his wife Elin. He wants to make sure the blame is placed squarely on his shoulders and put paid to the accusations currently broiling about his wife. He hasn't really succeeded Here is the statement in full, straight from the Tigers mouth, so to speak.

"As you all know, I had a single-car accident earlier this week, and sustained some injuries. I have some cuts, bruising and right now I'm pretty sore. This situation is my fault, and it's obviously embarrassing to my family and me. I'm human and I'm not perfect. I will certainly make sure this doesn't happen again.

This is a private matter and I want to keep it that way. Although I understand there is curiosity, the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible. The only person responsible for the accident is me. My wife, Elin, acted courageously when she saw I was hurt and in trouble. She was the first person to help me. Any other assertion is absolutely false.

This incident has been stressful and very difficult for Elin, our family and me. I appreciate all the concern and well wishes that we have received. But, I would also ask for some understanding that my family and I deserve some privacy no matter how intrusive some people can be. "

It's done little to stop the rumour mill from a churning and I don't think at this stage that he can expect to get away without at least giving a partial explanation for how he managed to crash his Escalade within the confines of his own home. Until he does, then the questions surrounding the actions of his wife on the night will continue. The limited details that are in the public domain mean it can't really be any other way.

Why was it necessary to smash the window to get him out ? Was the car locked and she couldn't get in any other way? I've only just seen these pictures of the car and up until this point I'd thought it was the back window of the car which was smashed, which seems an odd point of entry to help a guy in the drivers seat. But it seems to be the rear door window on the left hand side, which I guess makes more sense if you can't get the door open. (Though if reports are true that there were actually three windows smashed that kind of blows that out the water...) If that's the case and she is a "hero", then why can't he say that - it would go some way to stop the absolute pasting she's getting in the press just now. It's fair enough I think to tell us to get stuffed if we're snooping into his private life but if his own actions have got him into a situation like this I think he owes it to those around them to set the record straight if it needs to be. If Elin did nothing that she shouldn't be proud of then how is this helping her? The silence is doing neither him nor his wife any favours.

What does get my goat more than the media blackout is the continuing refusal to cooperate with the police investigation. It is debatable as to whether he has an obligation to reveal anything to the public but surely he has to make himself accountable to the police and answer their questions in a timely fashion just like anyone else. You or I would not be able to put off speaking to the police in the manner Woods has and I was surprised that he was able to postpone the interview for another day - he should have now spoken to the police, so perhaps some more details will be forthcoming. I doubt he'll be able to avoid saying more at the planned press conference tomorrow at the Chevron World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, hosted by Woods, anyhow.

The appearance of a coverup only leads to these spirals of rumours, and no matter the reason, theres enough affection out there for Tiger to forgive whatever it was but evading the police and avoiding questions will only serve to use up that goodwill. Appearing like a man who has something to hide is doing him no favours. Hopefully someone will tell him that. Thats what makes us human isn't it, making mistakes - and a man willing to admit what they were gets a lot more respect.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Tiger, he's only human. Who knew?

I’ve been reluctant to make any kneejerk, reactionary comments over the recent occurrences inTiger Woods personal life. Mainly I feared the wrath of the millions of ardent Woods fans who believe that bit when he walks on water in his 09 advert was actual documentary footage. I’ve been waiting to hear some sort of statement from the great man himself or to hear a few more details perhaps from the police report. The fact that it’s been over 48 hours and we’ve heard little more than the bare bones details of the intial police report makes it tough to sit here and not let your head start adding two and two together to make scandal… With all the stories and theories being bandied about, it’s hard not to, I don’t buy most of them, especially the more salacious ones but I do have questions…

The biggest question for me is the fact that Woods has put off speaking to the police in this manner. It only arouses suspicions all the more. There has been many an article written already, explaining how fiercely protective Woods is of his privacy and also how defensive he has become in his dealing with the media of late and this could well go towards explaining why Woods is reluctant to come forward and speak to the police. Any account he give will soon become public and he’ll be anxious to try and keep any revelations to an absolute minimum so he’ll want to be prepared for it but for now the deafening silence will remain a hotbed for rumours to grow.

But coming on the back of the accusations of an illicit affair with “New York Party girl” Rachel Uchitel it doesn’t look great for young Eldrick… I think it’d be a bit naive to believe the “Pubic Enquirer” straight off the bat but coming on the back of those rumour mill reports it lends a bit of credence to the accusation. I did think that the quotes of how Tiger was apparently promising to leave his wife, the beautiful Elin, and his two young children made the story sound too preposterous to even acknowledge. I mean this is a women who made similar allegations about David Boreanz not so long ago. Yes, David Boreanz, of Bones and Buffy fame. Clearly not getting the attention anticipated from this foray into the tabloids, she cranked it up a notch or ten and went for the most famous sportsman on the planet. Now when I read that I was convinced there was nothing to it, surely to god a man of Woods stature doesn’t have to go chasing after David Boreanz “alleged” cast-offs? Apparently Rachel now denies any sort of affair with Woods but it’s clearly unsettled the Woods household.

But then the crash. There are a number of things which don’t add up for me. First there’s the where and why of this night-time excursion. I guess he wouldn’t be the first top rank sportsman to feel the need to go for a head clearing night time cruise. Lest we forget, Rocky did just that when he had argued with Adrian over his revenge seeking fight with Ivan Drago. But then Rocky chose a Ferrari, the perfect vehicle for such a therapeutic cruise, and had sufficient skill to negotiate the driveway of his mansion.

Which leads me to another little point which I want answering. He was reportedly in an SUV. He reverses into a fire hydrant, I guess if you did so in a fit of pique, you may well attempt to say to hell with it and drive on, but you’d be a bit more careful wouldn’t you when you do attempt to drive forward. There must have been something badly wrong for him to stack it into a tree. Then apparently the concerned Elin, comes running down, golf club in hand to smash the back window and rescue Tiger. It’s an SUV, if it’s so badly damaged that you can’t get the doors open and you need to smash in the back window, then I doubt very much Tiger would have gotten away with just some facial lacerations. It doesn’t ring true to me.

Plus, do you hear your husband having an accident down the driveway and run to the scene with a golf club? Did she run back to the house to get it or what was the deal there…

Basically, there are a lot of questions that are waiting to be addressed and the sooner they are the sooner Tiger can hope to move on from them. Whatever the reasons or answers I hope that he comes out the other side happy and well in his personal life and that any troubles he does have don’t affect his play on the course. Lest we forget, he is just a guy, seemingly going through some pretty average joe life issues just now. It’s just he’s not an average joe, he’s been nigh on a real life superman til this past week, only just been proclaimed the first sporting billionaire – it really does happen to the best of us.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Lee pips rory at the last in the Race to Dubai

What a way to finish out the Race to Dubai. I am of coursed biased towards our wee Rory, being from 'Norn Iron' myself but you can do nothing but tip your hat to the emphatic manner in which Lee Westwood claimed his second European crown last week. It was an amazing performance. I'm sure McIlroy would have thought third place would virtually guarantee him the coveted cash prize but the wily Westwood knew what he had to do from the start and set about it in unrelenting fashion.

It really does make you wonder what Westwood might have done had he kept the momentum going after his early successes. For someone to win so freely and seemingly easily at the start of their career to virtually drop off the radar of the golfing world for the best part of two years, I think most would have bet against a return to the lofty echelons of the game. Maybe it was the faith shown in him by Woosie to throw him a wild card for the Ryder cup, faith which he duly repaid in spades that got him back on the road to success. Whatever it was he has emerged a stronger steelier player. His game has always been built on solid driving but what was a very solid tee to green game has become a truly outstanding one. The confidence he now has with the big stick is second to none and with good reason. Which is the main reason that Westwoods claim he's ready to go on and bag majors is one I'd wholeheartedly agree with. He's been edging closer and closer these past few years and surely he'll get the luck to go on and take one soon. Though we said that about Monty didn't we...

It's no small statement to make but if Lee had a chipping game to match the rest of his play, he'd be a major winner by now. If he had a major for every time that's been pointed out...

Friday, 20 November 2009

I thought these guys were rich? They can't even knock a few houses together...

When the players showed up for the showcase event of the year, at the Earth Course, Jumeirah Golf Estates, for the pinnacle of the Race to Dubai - to contest for what will be the most richly awarded prize in European Golfing history - they may have wondered quite where the money was going to be produced from. Even the richest parts of the world have found these credit crunch times difficult it seems, as the luxury courseside homes meant to have been snapped up by rich westerners to entertain their chums during the event remain in various states of completion - it's one of the most expensive of building sites you'll ever come across. Not the opulent surroundings that the organisers would have been anticipating they would present to the world. As an indicator of just how behind schedule and underfunded the event has become, grandiose plans for the Earth course being played on this week to be joined with Wind, Air and Fire courses have been shelved, only Fire is thought to remain a possibility of ever being actually made.

The lake feature beside the 6th hole is said to stink to high heaven, which begs the question how can a country - lets not forget the entire season long Order of Merit has been renamed the Race to Dubai by virtue of this tournament - a country which in 18 months built the most spectacular venue for the season ending Formula one race, including a marina, a track spanning Hotel which changes colour and the immense Ferrari World theme park on Yas Island which was so breathtaking in scale I couldn't quite believe it was real. Look at the pictures. Is this why the Race to Dubai has been left looking like it's finished a bit soon? The audience for an F1 race is worldwide and massive and I think I know where the priority may have lay. It seems to me to be a bit of a kick in the teeth for the European tour that things have been left in this state for what was to be the Flagship event.

Fortunately, no matter what state the course surroundings are in, the course is up to scratch and the main men have shown up, McIlroy and Westwood are going at it hammer and tongs over the first two rounds, and it appears that they're going to give the organisers a script which may make up for any shortcomings on the luxury villa side of things...