Press Coverage: NCAA Announcer Breakdown, Rocket in PBR, Vin Scully & This Tiger Woods Interview Will Self Destruct in Five Minutes.

Tiger Woods decided to talk this weekend, giving "exclusive" interviews to both ESPN's Tom Rinaldi and Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman. There was only one concession for these interviews: they had 5 minutes to ask anything they wanted. Some people didn't think 5 minutes was enough. CBS turned down the interview after finding out they would have only five minutes. CBS Sports spokeswoman LeslieAnne Wade said that, "depending on the specifics, we are interested in an extended interview without any restrictions on CBS." ↵

↵Some media folks are applauding CBS for taking a stand against Tiger Woods consistently making up his own rules. SI's Jon Heyman tweeted Monday morning: "good for cbs for turning down tiger's 5-minute interview. even in disgrace, he still thinks he can control folks." ↵

↵

↵The fact of the matter is, he can. He's Tiger Woods, and the media is the media. Who really needs whom in this scenario? ↵

↵

↵As we always do in situations like this, there has been much discussion about the questions Rinaldi and Tilghman each asked, and who did a better job with their time. Don Van Natta of the New York Times (via Richard Deitsch's Twitter) thought that Rinaldi "did a much better job than GC's Kelly Tilghman," and offered: ↵

↵
↵⇥The Tiger Woods interview is extraordinary, but I'm stunned ESPN agreed to 5-minute time limit. ↵
↵That's precisely why I’m stunned CBS didn't agree to the 5-minute time limit: someone else would. If ESPN and Golf Channel are getting 5 minutes with the athlete at the center of the biggest story in sports – and gossip and news – why is 5 minutes not better than nothing for CBS? What point is CBS proving by turning down this interview? Are they setting a tone for future interviews, taking the loss on Tiger Woods so they can stick to their "integrity" for the next big exclusive? Why wouldn't CBS simply trust one of its reporters to get the information they demand out of Woods in five minutes? Five minutes is plenty of time to ask something, and if you believe Vince Doria – ESPN Senior VP and director of news – five minutes was enough time for Rinaldi to ask every question ESPN had planned. ↵

↵To that end, what questions were asked? I've put each question side by side, in order they were asked, with Rinaldi's coming first and Tilghman's following. If there was a follow-up or reaction, I've put that after the original question. There are no answers here, as Tiger stuck to his talking points – Buddhism, rationalization, private matter between he and his wife, it's in the police report – in both interviews. Let's look at what 5 minutes can get you (H/T Ryan Ballengee for much of the transcription): ↵

↵
↵⇥Rinaldi: 1. Tiger, what's the difference between the man who left Augusta National a year ago and the one who is about to return? ↵⇥
↵⇥Tilghman: 1. Tiger, you’ve been a master of control your entire life. How did things get so out of control? ↵⇥

↵⇥Rinaldi: 2. For a lot of people, the spark of those bad things is Nov. 27. Early that day, what happened? ↵⇥
↵⇥Tilghman: 2. Were there moments you thought you should stop, but didn’t? ↵⇥

↵⇥

↵⇥Rinaldi: 3. Why did you lose control of the car? ↵⇥
↵⇥Tilghman: 3. For a man who’s so disciplined physically and psychologically, why couldn’t you say no? ↵⇥

↵⇥

↵⇥Rinaldi :4. If it's a private matter, why issue a public apology? ↵⇥
↵⇥Tilghman: 4. The Masters is a demanding stage on its own, let alone for a return of this magnitude, how do you know you’re mentally prepared for this? (Follow: How do you know you’ll be ready for the Masters?) ↵⇥

↵⇥

↵⇥Rinaldi: 5. You've said you've made transgressions. How would you, in your own words, describe the depth of your infidelity? ↵⇥
↵⇥Tilghman: 5. How will your therapy affect your 2010 schedule? I’m assuming you’ll have more in-patient therapy ahead. ↵⇥

↵⇥

↵⇥Rinaldi: 6. You…you said you were in treatment. The simple question is: for what? (Follow: What did you see?) (Follow to that: Who was that?) ↵⇥
↵⇥Tilghman: 6. You went from becoming recognized as the greatest golfer in the world to becoming a punch line. How did that make you feel? ↵⇥

↵⇥

↵⇥Rinaldi: 7. Why not seek treatment before all of this came out? (Follow: How did you learn that? How did you learn it?) ↵⇥
↵⇥Tilghman: 7. America was concerned when the world’s greatest golfer was lying on the ground with no shoes at 2:30 in the morning, bleeding, what happened that night? ↵⇥

↵⇥

↵⇥Rinaldi: 8. How do you reconcile your behavior with your view of marriage? ↵⇥
↵⇥Tilghman: 8. How did you crash the car? ↵⇥

↵⇥

↵⇥Rinaldi:9. Given all that's happened, what's your measure of success at Augusta? ↵⇥
↵⇥Tilghman:9. It’s been reported that members of your team, your inner circle were involved in your misdoings, is it true? ↵⇥

↵⇥

↵⇥Rinaldi:10. What reception are you expecting from fans? (Follow: How much do you care?) ↵⇥
↵⇥Tilghman:10. What is the state of your marriage with Elin right now? ↵⇥

↵⇥

↵⇥Rinaldi: 11. Eleven months ago, here at Isleworth, I asked you, 'How well does the world know you?' What's your answer to that now? ↵⇥
↵⇥Tilghman: 11. If your father were here today and looked back on these last 4 months, what would he say to you? What do you think he would say? ↵⇥

↵⇥

↵⇥Rinaldi:12. In the last four months, Tiger, what's been the low point? (Follow: An example?) (Follow referencing talking to his wife and mother: What was that moment like…either one?) ↵⇥
↵⇥Tilghman: 12. For the 12 year olds and the parents out there who looked at you as a role model, what do you have to say to them to make them believe in you again? ↵⇥

↵⇥

↵⇥Rinaldi: 13. What was your wife's reaction when you sat down and had that first conversation? ↵⇥
↵⇥Tilghman: 13. How will you explain this to your children, one day when they’re old enough to understand? ↵⇥

↵⇥

↵⇥Rinaldi: 14. I ask this question respectfully, but of course at a distance from your family life. When you look at it now, why did you get married? ↵⇥
↵⇥Tilghman: 14. Based on all that has transpired, what do you want your legacy to be when all is said and done? ↵⇥

↵⇥

↵⇥Rinaldi: 15. How do you reconcile what you've done with that love? ↵⇥
↵⇥Tilghman: 15. I noticed you’re wearing a bracelet, can we see it? What does it mean? (Follow: When did you start wearing it? Will you be wearing it during the Masters? For the rest of your life?) ↵⇥

↵
↵They asked similar questions about specific factual events, but Rinaldi spent the rest of the time trying to get inside Tiger's head with questions about his low point and his views on marriage, while Tilghman seemed more interested in his thoughts on how the rest of the world will view him, including how his deceased father would have dealt with this and how Woods plans to, eventually, explain this situation to his kids. ↵

↵Tilghman also had a seemingly sterner tone with Woods while Rinaldi offered more deference. To be fair to Rinaldi, the set-up for the interview – standing in what looked like a gazebo – was incredibly awkward, and Rinaldi's soft-spoken style does lend itself to be more of a friendly sounding board than interrogator. In addition, with Woods' transgressions being committed against his wife – and countless other women – Tilghman may have consciously taken a more direct tone. ↵

↵

↵Both interviews featured 15 questions, plus follow-ups when needed, which speaks to how short Woods was keeping his answers. Surely there was more each person would have wanted to ask, and working a subject for 20 or 30 minutes allows for many more opportunities for them to slip up and say something they would not have said during the first five minutes. I will say this: Rinaldi missed a golden opportunity to catch Woods after he asked about why he got married. Woods offered, in part: ↵

↵
↵⇥"Why? Because I loved her. I loved Elin with everything I have. And that's something that makes me feel even worse, that I did this to someone I loved that much." ↵
↵Rinaldi replied with a question about reconciling what he's done with that love. Perhaps if the interview had more time and there wasn't a PR person (I'm assuming) waving his arms to cut the interview off, Rinaldi would have explored why Woods said "loved" her – past tense – three times without saying "love" once. But time constraints that did not allow a proper follow-up still would have been no reason to pass on the interview. ↵

↵Did CBS Send The Right Announcers To the Right Sites? ↵
↵In a word: no. We mentioned last week that CBS was putting Gus Johnson and Len Elmore at the host site with no truly compelling games.  Despite that fact, the team got to call Syracuse, West Virginia and two games with similar seeds (one 7-10 game and one 8-9 game). A suggestion would have been to send them to an upset-ripe host city like, say, Spokane. While it turned out that Spokane didn't have any major upsets – both games on Sunday were 4-5 matchups – the site did have the closest games. Here's a breakdown, by CBS crew: ↵

↵

↵Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery – Providence ↵
↵First Round Point differential – 7.25 ↵
↵Second Round Point differential – 11 ↵
↵Games decided by three points or less – 2 ↵
↵Overtime Games - 1 ↵
↵Upsets (by seed): 2 ↵

↵

↵Dick Enberg and Jay Bilas – New Orleans
 ↵
↵First Round Point differential – 11
↵Second Round Point differential – 19 ↵
↵Games decided by three points or less – 2 ↵
↵Overtime Games - 1 ↵
↵Upsets (by seed): 2 ↵

↵

↵Kevin Harlan and Dan Bonner – Oklahoma City ↵
↵First Round Point differential – 11.5 ↵
↵Second Round Point differential – 7 ↵
↵Games decided by three points or less – 2 ↵
↵Overtime Games - 1 ↵
↵Upsets (by seed): 2 ↵

↵

↵Spero Dedes and Bob Wenzel – San Jose ↵
↵First Round Point differential – 6.5 ↵
↵Second Round Point differential – 10 ↵
↵Games decided by three points or less – 3 ↵
↵Overtime Games - 0 ↵
↵Upsets (by seed): 3 ↵

↵

↵Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg – Jacksonville ↵
↵First Round Point differential – 15.25 ↵
↵Second Round Point differential – 16.5 ↵
↵Games decided by three points or less – 0 ↵
↵Overtime Games - 0 ↵
↵Upsets (by seed): 2 ↵

↵

↵Gus Johnson and Len Elmore – Buffalo ↵
↵First Round Point differential – 16.25 ↵
↵Second Round Point differential – 15.5 ↵
↵Games decided by three points or less – 0 ↵
↵Overtime Games - 0 ↵
↵Upsets (by seed): 1 ↵

↵

↵Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel – Milwaukee ↵
↵First Round Point differential – 14 ↵
↵Second Round Point differential – 6 ↵
↵Games decided by one three points or less – 1 ↵
↵Overtime Games - 0 ↵
↵Upsets (by seed): 2 ↵

↵

↵Tim Brando and Mike Gminski – Spokane ↵
↵First Round Point differential – 9.75 ↵
↵Second Round Point differential – 2 ↵
↵Games decided by three points or less – 3 ↵
↵Overtime Games - 1 ↵
↵Upsets (by seed): 1 
 ↵

↵

↵By the numbers, Johnson and Elmore were saddled with the least competitive site that featured just one upset – a 10-seed over a 7-seed – and an average margin of victory of 16 points. Nantz and Kellogg had an average margin of 15.67 points, but in that came two blowout victories by the No. 12-seed Cornell team that's one of the best story lines of the first weekend. While Lundquist and Raftery got upsets of a 2-seed and a 3-seed – and nearly a 15 beating a 2 –Harlan and Bonner called the moment of the tournament so far, when Northern Iowa upset Kansas. Dedes and Wenzel had three big upsets and four of their six games decided by 5 points or less. ↵

↵

↵While Brando and Gminski didn't get any huge upsets – as a site with two 12-seeds and two 13-seeds may have projected – they got the most competitive games overall, including an amazing Sunday double-header with Michigan State and Maryland, followed by Purdue and Texas A&M going to overtime. One's left to wonder if we would have gotten better play-by-play than "Hot time, Summers in the city" and "it may be spring, but Summers is blossoming," to illustrate the hot hand of MSU guard Durrell Summers, had Johnson – or anyone other than Brando – been on the call of these games. In his defense, maybe Brando was just trying out for CSI: Spokane. It is CBS, after all. ↵

↵

↵The CBS NCAA Regional Announcing Crews ↵
↵CBS is sending Gus Johnson and Len Elmore to Salt Lake City, traveling along with Syracuse from Buffalo to call the Orange against Butler as well as Xavier against Kansas State. ↵

↵

↵Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg are staying with Duke, as they follow the Blue Devils from Jacksonville to Houston where they play Purdue. Baylor plays St. Mary's in the other regional semifinal. ↵

↵

↵Dick Enberg and Jay Bilas follow Kentucky from New Orleans to Syracuse as they take on Cornell. Bilas said on Selection Sunday that he expected Cornell to get to this game and give Kentucky fits, so it's a good job by CBS to have him on the call. The crew will also call West Virginia and Washington. ↵

↵

↵Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery – who solidified their status as the best crew in the tournament this weekend – get the only region without a No. 1 seed. The crew travels to St. Louis to call Ohio St. play Tennessee and Michigan State play Northern Iowa. ↵

↵

↵Rocket Riding Bulls? ↵
↵He may not be riding bulls, but Raghib "Rocket" Ismail will be broadcasting the Professional Bull Riders on Versus this season. Per the company's release: ↵

↵
↵⇥He spent a lifetime playing football, but all it took was eight days for Raghib “Rocket” Ismail to fall in love with the sport of professional bull riding.
 
In 2007, he was filming the CMT series “Ty Murray’s Celebrity Bull Riding Challenge,” and unlike the other contestants, he wondered what possibilities could lie beyond the reality show.
 
 ↵⇥

↵⇥“Even though my body hurt like never before at the end of the eight days,” he said, “I really enjoyed the experience, and if it wasn’t for my wife nixing my plans, I probably would have – after that show – found a ranch somewhere where every month or so I could go out and practice up on a lower-tier bull.” ↵⇥

↵
↵Ismail is a correspondent for the program, doing a story this past weekend that, per the PBR comments, was hit or miss. Clearly the PBR is trying to tap into a different audience, which seems to be offending some of the traditional bull riding fans. As commenter "redskid43" wrote: "i loved the rocket in football, but really do not need one more non-cowboy voice in the broadcast booth. must be the suits in the mix trying to figure out what the fans want to see. HOW ABOUT MORE BULL RIDING AND LESS BS," which if you extrapolated BS to its full and literal meaning, would make a pretty hilarious t-shirt. ↵

↵Vin Scully is Bruised, but Back ↵
↵Vin Scully fell last week and was hospitalized, but thankfully it was nothing serious and the venerable broadcaster was back to work this weekend, leading his broadcast, via transcription from the LA Times, with "It's time for Dodger baseball," and then said, "If you don't mind, I'd like to take a moment to say I'm sorry to have caused the accident that caused so much concern." ↵

↵
↵⇥But Scully, who also received five stitch-like "staples" to close a cut in the back of his head from the fall, said, "I do appreciate that immensely and humbly, and I guess that's why I'm embarrassed to put them through anything at all, especially when it was so simple and harmless." ↵⇥Scully explained he'd been fighting a cough and, while reading in bed Thursday night at his Hidden Hills home, "all of a sudden I felt one of these big bronchial coughs coming up, and I thought I would get to the bathroom. I jumped out of bed. Bad idea. I got dizzy." ↵
↵Nobody will blame Scully if he takes it easy for a few days, or weeks. Then again, nobody expects him to. It's good to have him back on the air so quickly and hopefully, no worse for the wear.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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