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Show 21 transcript: The Tiger Effect
|OUTSIDE THE LINES - Can Golf Manage the Tiger Effect?
Announcer - August 13, 2000
Bob Ley - announcer - Today may be the calm before the storm with Tiger Woods hitting six strokes off the lead at the Buick Open, tied for 14. But you never know.
That's what's so beguiling about watching him play, the potential for anything, a potential that has continued to blossom this year into historically dominant wins of the U.S. Open and then the British Open. If it's calm now, the storm may be beginning this Thursday at the PGA Championship as Woods attempts to join Ben Hogan as the only man to win a triple crown of modern Majors in the same year.
The Woods phenomenon by some accounts has raised the number of golf fans to all-time levels. In this very political season, "Time" magazine put him on last week's cover.
In the wake of Woods' runaway U.S. Open title, those that dared ask the question, "Is he too good?" - those folks may have been drawing snickers. But then came last Thursday at the Buick Open when The Golf Channel for a majority of its coverage elected to broadcast videotape of Woods' round from earlier in the day rather than live action when Woods was seven strokes was off the lead.
Tiger Woods has disturbed golf's primal forces of nature. It is something the sport has never seen, with pitfalls to go with the possibilities.
Scott Walker examines the Tiger effect.
Tiger Woods, professional golfer - It's a fun game. You get to carry a bag, get good exercise. I think I'm a good golfer, but I need a lot of improvement. I want to win all of the big tournaments, the major ones, and beat all the pros.
Scott Walker, ESPN correspondent (voice-over) - If you started from scratch on a mission to craft a golfer capable of posting the three most dominating performances in the history of Major Championship golf, your model would not be one golfer, but four.
Lee Janzen, PGA Tour golfer - It's like taking Jack Nicklaus' brain and course management, Sevy's (ph) short game, and DaLey's (ph) length and putting them all together, and Hogan's work ethic. And there you have it.
Unidentified male - How about that one, huh?
Walker - If you took the same approach to molding a sports icon, a revered symbol capable of electrifying crowds from Scotland to Scottsdale, your target audience would not be one but all. And in his face, from an array of intense emotions to a range of colors, his public would see themselves.
Burton - Tiger represents something that is in some ways new to America. He's neither white nor black. He's not really seen in my mind as being part of the old establishment. He represents kind of this whole new phase.
Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, "Sports Illustrated" - He transcends all demographics, all age groups, all everything. I mean, old people like him. All golfers want to watch him hit the ball. He's got the 1,000-watt smile.
He's got the heritage, the mixed heritage where he's bringing everyone into golf who has been excluded in the past. You know, it's a total package.
Unidentified male - I'm Tiger Woods.
Unidentified female - I'm Tiger Woods.
Unidentified male - I'm Tiger Woods.
Walker - And right now, the package sells. His manager calls him the world's most visible entertainer. He may be its most marketable star.
Numerous companies have seen the value in Woods pitching everything from athletic apparel to financial products to luxury cars.
Tony Derhake, Buick brand manager of golf - We think Tiger is bigger than the sport of golf. I mean, he really crosses all genders, all age, all demographics. Corporate sponsors are paying more today for golf. But that's a value. They see a value there. They see a return there.
Justin Leonard, PGA Tour golfer - Non-golf companies are stepping up and saying, "You know, we can get a lot of exposure." And they all can't have Tiger.
They all want him. But they all can't have him or afford him. And when that doesn't happen, then maybe some of that trickles down to me.
Burton - It's really almost hard to quantify the number of different ways that Tiger is driving the sports industry, not just golf, but pro sports leagues, and driving it not just in the United States but all over the world.
Walker - Although purses on the LPGA and Senior Tours have grown, neither has come close to the 127 percent increase in PGA Tour purses since Woods turned pro. That increase can largely be attributed to an influx in television money since Tiger's arrival.
Despite huge salary increases in the three major sports over that time, even the next closest increase lags well behind the tour's game.
Steve Elkington, PGA Tour golfer - I said to someone the other day, "He's a very one-dimensional player. He just wins all the time."
Elkington - Yeah, we're the losers. But in the end, we're the winners. So it's all good.
Loren Roberts, PGA Tour golfer - It's been good for everybody. You just look at the TV contracts. You look at the ratings. Every time those are up, it generates more dollars for everyone to play for.
Walker - Television ratings illustrate the Tiger effect well. Twice as many viewers watch the final round when Woods is in contention compared to when he is off the league or absent from the field. They don't stop watching when he is lapping the field. But no sport wants to be too dependent on one player.
Leonard - The PGA Tour has got I believe it's 42 tournaments out there. And Tiger is only going to play in about 16 or 18 of them. So it leaves a lot of people out wanting him to come play.
Janzen - I see a lot of events that if Tiger is not playing, they're just not getting recognition as the ones he is playing. So we don't want it to turn into two separate tours.
Walker - The Tigerless tour may be the only dark cloud on the PGA Tour's horizon. Golfers choose their own tournament schedules, leaving the tour without the luxury of an organization like the NBA, which knew that barring injury Michael Jordan in his prime would play in every NBA city every season.
Woods - The difference is that we don't have an off season. We play from first week in January to the first week in November. And then usually that's when the season starts or you go to the other tours to play there. So it really isn't an off season.
Derhake - We were delighted of course when Tiger identified that he in fact was going to play in the Buick Open. It definitely makes a difference.
Our gate here is up 40-some percent and still growing. Our corporate sponsors are standing in line now. I ran out of space and opportunity for corporate sponsors. So the whole bar goes up when Tiger plays.
Van Sickle - Maybe the weeks he plays are so successful that the weeks he doesn't play can't survive. Or maybe some tournament sponsors say, "Well, if you can't guarantee me Tiger, I'm going to put my money somewhere else. I'm spending $4 million to have a tournament, you can't promise he's going to be there."
Walker - How then do you fight the problem? The tour says that mandating player appearances is against the spirit of the organization. That leaves the onus on Woods, who has stated his preference to return to some events he does not regularly play, but on his terms.
Woods - Yes, I understand what are your main priorities. And for me, it's winning Majors. Yeah, I would like to play more events. It's just really hard, and also get a balance in your life too.
If you play 45 events, you're not going to have - I hope you guys would come visit me in the padded room. But that probably wouldn't be the case.
Walker (on camera) - The tour will gladly tackle any issues that deal with having Woods in the fold. After all, the man who surpassed Jordan as the world's most marketable athlete represents their sport.
As for the future, two scenarios seem most likely. Either a rival steps up to challenge Woods on a consistent basis, or talk this time next year could center around Woods achieving a single-year grand slam. Some players now admit that once inconceivable thought now seems possible.
For Outside The Lines, I'm Scott Walker.
Ley - And when we continue, we consider the Tiger effect with a broadcaster covering Woods this week in Michigan, a leading columnist who has watched golf through five decades, and an executive whose company hired Woods as its spokesman.
Janzen - We're going through something that nobody really knows anything about. Has this ever happened before in another sport where it's grown so much over the popularity of one player like this? It's hard to tell what we're supposed to exactly do to grow properly.
I think the tour is doing about as good a job as they can. What can we do?
Ley - Lee Janzen describing the Tiger Woods effect. And here to discuss it from Grand Blanc, Michigan, is David Feherty, golf analyst for CBS Sports, who will cover Tiger next week as well at the PGA; from New York, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist of the "New York Times," Dave Anderson; and also from Grand Blanc, Michigan, Roger Adams, who is the general manager of the Buick division of General Motors.
David Feherty, let me begin with you. Is there a sense on the ground even though Tiger is tied for fourteenth this is at this point just a prelude for what begins Thursday down in Louisville, the PGA Championship?
David Feherty, CBS sports analyst - Well, I think a certain extent yes. But this still an extremely important tournament in the PGA Tour and as we've discussed, made more so by Tiger's presence.
Ley - Well, Roger Adams, Tiger was not there last year. In December, you signed with him a contract rumored to be, reported to be as much as $20 million, $25 million. What has having him on the ground there this year meant tangibly around the tournament as opposed to last year when he wasn't there?
Roger Adams, general manager, Buick division of General Motors - Yeah, it's been fantastic. We are seeing our attendance double. In fact, we set a single-day attendance record yesterday, and it's not even the final round.
So we've been here for over 40 years. And we set a single-day attendance record yesterday just to give you some idea of the pandemonium that's going on here at the Buick Open.
Ley - Well, Dave Anderson, you have seen so much in golf. Is this just a media industrial overreaction? Or is this the real thing? Is this another Michael Jordan explosion that is going to redefine the sport?
Dave Anderson, Sports columnist, "New York Times" - Well, Tiger Woods is certainly the real thing, Bob. You know, people talk about is he too dominant, is he bad for golf in the long run?
It's like saying was Mark McGwire bad for baseball two years ago? Was Michael Jordan bad for basketball? I mean, let's be serious. This young man is a special person. He's a genius at what he does at that age. And he's - barring an injury, he's going to be terrific the rest of his life because golf is a game you can play the rest of your life.
Ley - Well, there's a piece of tape we're going to play. I mentioned this at the top of the program - and David Feherty, you're involved in this videotape - from The Golf Channel's coverage on Thursday. And let's just play that and take a look and see exactly how the network you were working for that day approached the coverage.
Feherty - Here's what we're going to do. We had cameras on Tiger this morning, and we followed him the whole back nine. And for the next two-and-a-half hours, we're going to show you exactly what he did. And when we're done with that, we're going to get you up to date with the rest of today's play.
Feherty - Yesterday, some people voiced some concern about us overusing the taping ability to show Tiger's early progress in yesterday's tournament. That's not normally our policy, Peter, but today we're back on live golf and we have some great stories shaping up.
Ley - We show that tape not to criticize. We have a lot of friends and colleagues at The Golf Channel. And sports, everyone is scrambling for ratings these days. And I guess the only people who really were upset about this were the PGA Tour perhaps and some other players.
But what does that say about the explosion of this man on the golf media consciousness? Dave Feherty, who was involved there, Dave.
Feherty - Well, it's not often you've got an athlete on the cover of "Time" magazine who's in possession of three of the four Majors of the moment. And this is the prelude to the final Major of the season.
And I would agree perhaps we went a little overboard there with our coverage of Tiger. But people are just so interested in what he's doing that even when he plays badly - we were asked for years since he turned pro, "Do you think you show too much of Tiger?" But it's gotten to the stage now that even if he plays badly, that's a huge part of the story that we're trying to tell here because it doesn't happen that often for a start.
Ley - Roger Adams, have you had an empirical chance to sit down, do some research, and see exactly all the money that you have spent so far, what kind of difference it's made with his being a spokesperson?
Adams - As you know, we just started our sponsorship early this year. And our first collaboration was on the Buick Invitational, which took place in February. But after that, we saw our awareness as the official car of the PGA Tour go up 50 percent after one tournament in the association.
And we've run some promotions where we've seen just a phenomenal response. We get a quarter of a million people that will come in on a daily basis to try and participate in our promotions.
So we are tracking that. We do also track the opinion people have about Buick. And we've seen that go up precipitously since we've begun this partnership between us and Tiger Woods.
Ley - That contract, $20 million perhaps, is it paying for itself already?
Adams - Yes. I think there were some people early on that thought maybe we'd paid too much. But people now are saying, "Boy, you got a bargain."
And it's just great to see the more involvement in the sport. As I walk around the course here, you see little kids here with Tiger puppets. And you see disabled, you see a broader audience, and people coming here that really don't know much about golf but want to be part of this phenomenon, which I think will be good for golf in the long run.
Ley - Dave Anderson, what about the editorial decisions that have to be made in newsrooms and as a columnist? It's obvious people can't enough of this man.
Anderson - Well, I find myself writing about him one way or another every day that I'm at a Major Championship, Bob. He's the person that people want to read about, just as they want to watch him on television.
That's why Golf Channel put him on tape. People want to see this young man because he is such an attractive, such an interesting, such a compelling figure.
Ley - You mentioned earlier, Dave Anderson, that it was maybe a foolery that people were saying, "Is he too good?" But David Feherty, in the wake of that U.S. Open, even while the coverage was playing out, that question was being asked very seriously. Is there a question about competitive balance here?
Feherty - No, I really don't think so. I think you're looking at someone. And there's two things here to me.
There are your established players, Sy Davis, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Colin Montgomery, the older generation if you like that already have some kind of a idea of how good they can be and what they can do on the golf course. When they play with Tiger - and I'm out there with them, I see them - and they go, "Wow." And they know that they can't do that.
Then you get a next generation of players like Adam Scott (ph), like Matt Goggin (ph). You get these players that are coming out of college that look at Tiger and see a new benchmark. And they don't yet have a sense of how good they can be.
So I'm not sure that we're going to see the true Tiger effect probably for about another decade. And when you look at kids' golf and the explosion that's happening there, I think what looks like a lack of competition now, that gap is going to close. I may take a while.
Ley - David Feherty, you talk about being out there on the course. He has the huge galleries, Tiger Woods, obviously. When he hits his shot, everybody else moves on. After he holds out, everybody else moves on.
Is it disconcerting to players to play in and around with him? And is there unspoken a little bit of maybe a tiny strain of jealousy here?
Feherty - Well, that's the phenomenon that's always been. It was there with Arnie. It was there with Jack. When I played with Norman in Australia, you got the same sort of thing.
You know, the crowd will come to watch one player. And when that one player is getting ready to go somewhere else, they're going to follow them.
Just interesting what you said earlier. The Tiger puppets, they've been selling Tiger dolls here. About 3,000 of them were made. They were all snapped up.
And I don't think there's any jealousy. Players sort of realize the reason that they're playing for so much money is this young man that's so far in front of them at the moment. But there is definitely some voodoo potential here with these dolls.
Ley - OK, more with David Feherty and Dave Anderson and Roger Adams as we take a look at the Tiger effect. We'll be talking about Tiger aiming at the Majors and what that may mean for the PGA Tour as we continue on Outside The Lines.
Van Sickle - The tour was always marketed, "This is an event. Come see the show. Come see all these great players. Come out and have a great time. It's the atmosphere."
And the PGA, the European PGA Tour has been the exact opposite. They've marketed their stars. "Hey, we've got Sevy. We've got Jose (ph)."
And they wind up having to pay those guys appearance money to play. And if they didn't play, people didn't come out.
Now suddenly, we've got Tiger. He's the entire show. And if he's not here, you don't have a show.
And that's what they've tried to avoid. And through no fault of their own, the public wants to see Tiger.
Ley - That's golf journalist Gary Van Sickle. And we continue our look at the Tiger effect with David Feherty, Dave Anderson, and Roger Adams.
Dave Anderson, let's pick up on Gary Van Sickle's point. Are the non-Tiger events becoming devalued on the tour?
Anderson - To some extent. But yet I would think a lot of the golfers themselves would like to play in non-Tiger events because they have a better chance of winning. So I think you're going to see players schedule their schedule a little differently maybe than they did in the past in order to make sure they are playing when Tiger is not playing.
Ley - Dave Feherty, you think that's true? Are guys now scheduling away from Tiger?
Feherty - No, I don't think so. I think guys play in the tournaments that they like to play. And you know, Tiger has dragged the standard up. There's no question about that.
Last week at the international, we saw phenomenal scoring. We saw Ernie Els win, Phil Mickelson make a tremendous charge.
There is still great golf to be watched when Tiger isn't around. There's no question about that.
Ley - Roger, it's been reported that there is a clause in your contract with Tiger requiring him to appear in at least one of the Buick tournaments. Is that the case?
Adams - No, we really don't have a requirement for him to appear. It's really in the spirit of best efforts. We're trying to get a partnership. And ultimately, we want Tiger to be as successful as possible.
And it's not for us to tell him which tournament to play in. But obviously as a sponsor, we like him to look pretty close at these.
And the partnership works for us. And example, the Buick Open, he was able to declare early for this tournament, which helped us market this and helped us raise the crowds that were here.
Ley - So you prefer he plays in the U.S. and doesn't take appearance money, which he has done to play overseas?
Adams - Correct. Yeah, we don't want to get into that venue. But we do want him to do what's right for golf and ultimately be as successful as he can. And then we want to be a part of that.
But even - we sponsor a Buy.com player in David Brigonio (ph). And I said to him, "What does this mean to you being here?" And he said, "You know, the crowds are up, and the gate sets an all-day attendance record."
People do follow the up-and-coming players as well. It's just not obviously the same throngs that follow Tiger Woods around the course. So everybody gets a little bit of extra adrenaline when they see this kind of a crowd here.
Ley - Dave Anderson, do you think the tour though could be edging towards having to consider appearance fees to counter the overseas money that Tiger is going to be - is offered to play?
Anderson- No, I don't think so, Bob. I think the tour is strong enough. As David Feherty said, there's certainly a tremendous group of other wonderful golfers.
But I think what we need is somebody to come up and really challenge Tiger. You know, the game of golf doesn't let you win every week, as Tiger is finding out this week, as he found out at the Western Open a few weeks ago.
But his dominance in the U.S. Open and the British Open has made it appear that way. And yet he didn't win the Masters this year. And all they talked about, will he ever win the grand slam in one year, that begins and ends with the Masters.
If he wins the Masters, he's got a shot at it. If he doesn't win the Masters, there's no chance at all every year. And he has not won the Masters since he won in 1997.
The thing I'm interested in is seeing when the next great golfer appears. I remember when Michael Jordan was playing, I remember Connie Hawkins, who was a Hall of Fame basketball player himself, said, "You know, Michael is great. But I can't wait to see the next guy."
And there is always going to be a next guy, whoever that may be. Maybe he's not in the NBA yet. And obviously he's not in the golf tour right now. But sooner or later, there will come another great player along to challenge Tiger just as when Arnold Palmer was at his best Jack Nicklaus came along.
Ley - Dave Feherty, your candidate for that next guy.
Feherty - Well, I'm in a position as an encore supporter being down on the ground and seeing what he can do close hand. You know, for the first time I think in the history of this game, you've got a guy who is better than everybody at everything.
He wins the British Open also. People say, "Well, that golf course is too short for the modern game." But he didn't win it by playing the modern game. He won it by playing the ancient game along the ground. That's just another aspect of the game that he's proved himself to be better than everyone else.
In terms of who is the next great player to come along, we've got some wonderful youngsters coming out of college. James McLane (ph) is up there in Minnesota that's going to turn pro I believe in a couple of weeks. Adam Scott, Matt Goggin. And there are a host of junior golfers that are now interested in the game simply because of Tiger Woods.
When I'm out there, I see more people watching golf from over the ropes. I see a lot more people watching golf from underneath the ropes. And I think that's a very important point.
Ley - And that's part of the Tiger effect. Gentlemen, thank you very much.
Thanks to David Feherty, Dave Anderson, and to Roger Anderson for joining us on Outside The Lines to talk about the Tiger effect. Next, we'll consider whether $100 million can buy the nation's capitals' team a Super Bowl.
Ley - This Friday, Outside The Lines takes you behind the scenes with the Washington Redskins where owner Dan Snyder has committed $100 million to winning the Super Bowl.
Dan Snyder, owner, Washington Redskins - We're not here to do anything except win. And with that, that pressure will always come from me. It comes from the top.
Unidentified male - I mean, you spend billions of dollars. I don't know how much this franchise costs. I mean, when you get all up in the millions and millions, the billions are right around the corner. So you should want to win after you drop that kind of load.
Ley - Friday evening, Outside The Lines takes you inside the NFL team which has spent more money and raised more hopes than any other in recent memory, the Washington Redskins. Campaign 2000 directly after "SportsCenter" before our coverage of the Vikings and the Cardinals Friday at 7 - 00 p.m. Eastern.
And we remind you that Outside The Lines is online at ESPN.com. Type in that keyword otlweekly and check our Web page for a complete library of streaming video from past programs and also a library of program transcripts as well as a place to register your e-mail opinions. Our e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.
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