Parody article's below the belt, says Woods

MIAMI - Former world No. 1 Tiger Woods fired back on Tuesday at a Golf Digest parody interview written by golf writer Dan Jenkins, calling it a nasty attack and character assassination.

The fictional story by Mr Jenkins is headlined "My (Fake) Interview with Tiger" with an asterisk and the sub-heading "Or how it plays out in my mind", and included a fake question-and-answer session between Mr Jenkins and Woods.

Among the barbs written by Mr Jenkins, as if uttered by Woods, is why Woods has not fired agent Mark Steinberg - "I'll probably get around to it. I like to fire people. It gives me something to do when I'm not shaping my shots" - and calling Sergio Garcia "Low Crybaby in every tournament".

Woods took to the Players Tribune website and tweeted a link to his Tuesday story with the comment: "Most things in the media you let slide, but sometimes you can't and shouldn't."

Woods wrote: "Did you read Dan Jenkins' interview with me in the latest Golf Digest? I hope not. Because it wasn't me. It was some jerk he created to pretend he was talking to me. That's right, Jenkins faked an interview, which fails as parody and is really more like a grudge-fuelled piece of character assassination.

"Journalistically and ethically, can you sink any lower?"

The words Mr Jenkins put in Woods' mouth, while clearly marked as fictional, hit close to home in Woods' personal life, poking at the sex scandal that led to his divorce and his ego.

"I like to think I have a good sense of humour and that I'm more than willing to laugh at myself. In this game, you have to," Woods wrote. "All athletes know that we will be under scrutiny from the media. But this concocted article was below the belt.

"Good-natured satire is one thing, but no fair-minded writer would put someone in the position of having to publicly deny that he mistreats his friends, takes pleasure in firing people and stiffs on tips - and a lot of other slurs, too.

"Whether it's misreported information or opinions I think are way off base, I let plenty of things slide. But this time I can't do that. The sheer nastiness of this attack, the photos and how it put false words in my mouth just had to be confronted."

Mr Jenkins noted the absence of one-time close pal and two-time Major winner Mark O'Meara from Woods' entourage lately, having his fake Woods say: "I'm sorry. I can't place him. Did he play on the tour?"

Citing Woods' late father Earl's comment in his son's youth that Tiger would have a greater world impact than Gandhi, Jenkins had the faux Woods reply: "I looked for Gandy in the record book and couldn't find him."

The fake Woods also said that he fired coach Butch Harmon because "Butchie was making me tip too many people" and added "I just don't understand why you're supposed to tip people for doing a job they're already getting paid to do".

Asked the moral of his infamous sex scandal, which began one week shy of five years ago and led to his divorce from wife Elin Nordegren after the revelation of multiple mistresses, Jenkins' phony Woods retorted: "That's easy. Don't get caught."

Regarding the break-up of current world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who won the past two Major titles, and tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, Mr Jenkins wrote that Woods said: "He's better off. He won another two Majors, didn't he?"

Woods responded: "The truth is, Mr Jenkins has no idea how I think or feel about any of the things he claims to know about, which is why he had to make things up. Frustration or resentment because I have not been more available to him should not give him a licence for an underhanded attack on me as an athlete, as a professional and as a person."

Mr Steinberg sent a letter to Golf Digest, a link to which Woods copied in his article, asking for an apology and saying the Golf Digest editors allowed Mr Jenkins "to realise his vendetta, concocting situations that arise out of his own grudges and frustrations".