| 10.3°C Belfast

Tiger just not fooling anyone

Tiger Woods

Is anyone else bored with all this grovelling and dewy-eyed, finger-wringing by Tiger Woods?

The Golf Channel and ESPN both broadcast ‘exclusive' interviews with Woods on Sunday evening — ironically, just in time to drown out coverage of Jim Furyk's rain-delayed final surge for victory at The Transitions Championship.

To their credit, US network CBS turned down the same invitation to tape an interview with Woods on the Isleworth Estate in Orlando, where he lives.

They were unwilling to accept the only restriction required by Tiger's management team — that each interview would last only five minutes.

That was just enough time for Woods to make a few pertinent points in response to worldwide accusations of cynicism and insincerity when the announcement that he'd play next month's US Masters so soon after his solemn suggestion at Sawgrass that he'd no idea when he would return.

In their rush to cover as many bases as possible, neither interviewer could really probe the substantive issues. Not least, Tiger's decision to seek treatment from Canadian Dr Anthony Galea, who was not licensed to practice in Florida and who is facing charges in Toronto of conspiring to smuggle banned substances, including Human Growth Hormone, across the border with the US.

Okay, no questions were barred but the interviews fell so far short of full and frank disclosure by Woods, they served no useful purpose except his own and the interests of his marketers.

Perhaps some of the people heading for Augusta will be fooled by this window-dressing. I for one would appreciate it if Tiger simply shut the hell up and let his golf clubs do the talking from now on!

Meanwhile Paul McGinley is about to strike a blow for all golfers currently held to ransom by money-grabbing airlines.

Together with college chum and fellow Dubliner Tony Judge, McGinley has discovered an innovative way around the exorbitant fees airlines charge to ferry golf clubs to holiday destinations.

Within the next few weeks, McGinley and Judge will launch an international rental business which will give golfers the opportunity to book the clubs of their choice over the internet and then collect them in the arrivals hall at their destination airport.

The service will be similar to that offered by car-hire companies, only the customer, for a price of €35 per week, will choose precisely which mix of woods, irons and putter he or she desires from any of the leading manufacturers.

Ryanair — who else? — were first to introduce specific fees for carrying golf clubs in the spring of 2003, but Aer Lingus soon followed suit along with many other major carriers in Europe and the United States.

It has become commonplace in the industry to charge for any baggage one places in an aircraft's hold, yet the prices levied on sports equipment defy all logic.

For example, yesterday I applied on-line for a flight with Ryanair from Dublin to Faro on Thursday April 22, returning on April 29.

It was one of those ‘no taxes' deals which would have required me to pay the airline the princely sum of €69.58, including a €10 on-line check-in fee, to ferry my corpulent, 200 pounds-plus frame from Dublin to the Algarve and back.

Yet the asking price for bringing my clubs — which weigh less than 25 pounds including the bag, balls and shoes — was €80, or €40 each-way.

Outrageously, I'd be expected to pay €10.42 more to ferry an item which is at least one eighth of my body weight.

Belfast Telegraph