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Tiger Woods has many tell-all (or nothing) interview options

You are Tiger Woods. Your personal life has become fodder for gossip magazines, tabloid TV and late-night talk show monologues. Allegations of infidelity with more than a dozen women have stained your previously pristine reputation. Though you might argue that your personal life is a private matter and no one's business, you realize you're going to have to eventually face the public and talk about all that has happened. You could wait until you finally appear at golf tournaments and get crushed with a steady stream of embarrassing questions in postmatch news conferences. Or, for the first — and if you want, last — time, you could sit down for a one-on-one interview to face up to all that has happened. What do you do? If you sit down for an interview, whom do you talk to? Here is a list of Woods' options.

Oprah Winfrey

If one subscribes to the theory that Woods needs to be interviewed by a female, then this seems to be the logical choice. Oprah's style isn't aggressive, and she's not a "gotcha'' interviewer. She has a knack for getting subjects to open up by making them relax. So Woods likely wouldn't feel like he was under a bright spotlight. It's not that Winfrey wouldn't ask tough questions, but she likely wouldn't push with tough followup questions if Woods wanted to dance a little.

Golf Channel

On the surface, this seems like a good idea for Woods: talking to a niche cable network dedicated to the sport that certainly owes some of its success to the best player on the planet. Woods likely wouldn't face any high inside fastballs and could control the interview. But if the interview was nothing but softball questions, Woods would be criticized for not owning up to everything.

ESPN

Depends on the interviewer. ESPN likely would want someone like Jeremy Schaap, who, as he showed in his famous interview with Bob Knight, wouldn't be rude but wouldn't back down.

'60 Minutes'

The disadvantage to this choice is that 60 Minutes could edit the interview and add its reporting and commentary. If you're Tiger, do you want to give up that kind of control and run the risk of only certain answers being used on the air? Plus, 60 Minutes' reporters are bulldogs and likely wouldn't agree to any conditions being put on the interview.

George Stephanopoulos

The new co-host of ABC's Good Morning America might be a decent fit. And getting Woods would be a major coup for GMA and a way for Stephanopoulos to make a splash in his new gig. GMA might do whatever it took to get Woods, including let him set extensive ground rules for the interview. Woods might agree to talk in generalities if he was promised he wouldn't be asked about details, and GMA might agree to that just for the ratings explosion it would get by nabbing an exclusive interview with Tiger.

Barbara Walters

She is perhaps the most famous celebrity interviewer. And there's this: Walters wrote in her auto­biography that she had an affair with then-U.S. Sen. Edward Brooke in the 1970s while Brooke was married. That could add a little empathy to an interview. Then again, talking to Walters, who works for ABC, might seem like too much of a "celebrity'' thing, which might be the image Woods wants to avoid.

Bob Costas

Costas proved himself a capable interviewer when he hosted Later With Bob Costas on NBC from 1988 to 1994, and the majority of his interviews were with non-sports figures. He also was a regular substitute for Larry King in 2005. So though he is considered a sports journalist, the emphasis should be on "journalist.'' Costas wouldn't conduct an interview like, say, Mike Wallace, but he also wouldn't let Woods off the hook if questions were ducked.

Larry King

The CNN host seems to have lost a few miles per hour on his fastball, so this could be a decent option for Woods. But Woods would have to have one ground rule: no phone calls.

Bryant Gumbel

He's a respected journalist who faced allegations that he strayed from his first marriage. Would those allegations stop him from asking the really tough questions? That might not be a risk Tiger would be willing to take.

Hold a news conference

The success of that strategy would depend on the news conference. If Tiger choose to speak to golf writers covering a tournament, he could make a statement about this mess, insist on not answering non-golf questions and it might work. But the environment would be difficult to control. All it would take would be a couple of renegade reporters from a gossip rag or even a publication like the New York Post to turn the news conference into a zoo that likely would do Tiger more harm than good.

Don't talk to anyone

It's Tiger's right to say it's no one's business and he will never speak about it to anyone. Ever. However, that wouldn't make the story go away or stop reporters from continually trying to sneak in questions about it. Plus, avoiding it means Tiger's reputation would remain in shambles. Avoidance could even make things worse.

Matt Lauer

The NBC Today show co-host is a golfer and a golf fan, but make no mistake, he's a journalist first, and we just can't see him going easy on any interview subject. Just ask Tom Cruise.

David Letterman

Some have suggested this would be perfect for Woods because Letterman recently admitted to his own transgressions and likely would be sympathetic and take a light-hearted approach. But this can't be like the time Hugh Grant went on Jay Leno. For starters, Grant's mess-up (he was with a prostitute in Hollywood) was a one-time deal, he wasn't married and he had no children. The scope of Woods' situation is so grand and tragic that trying to play it off in a humorous way would not go over well with anyone.

David Letterman

Some have suggested he would be perfect for Woods because the CBS late-night host recently admitted to similar transgressions and likely would be empathetic and take a lighthearted approach. But his interview couldn't be like Hugh Grant's with Jay Leno on the Tonight Show in 1995. For starters, Grant's mess-up (he was with a prostitute in Hollywood) was one time, he wasn't married, and he had no children. The scope of Woods' situation is so grand and tragic that trying to make it humorous would not go over well with anyone.

Tiger Woods has many tell-all (or nothing) interview options 12/17/09 [Last modified: Thursday, December 17, 2009 9:35pm]
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