Don't tell Tiger Woods about a site called The Onion.
The golf star went off on veteran sportswriter Dan Jenkins today in response to a parody of a Q&A session between the two that was published in Golf Digest, calling it a "grudge-fueled piece of character assassination" (let alone a failed attempt at parody).
"Journalistically and ethically, can you sink any lower?" Woods wrote in a post on The Players' Tribune, the website started by Derek Jeter as a forum for athletes to express their own views on the hot topics of the day.
"I like to think I have a good sense of humor, and that I'm more than willing to laugh at myself. In this game, you have to," wrote Woods, who while he reattained his No. 1 PGA Tour ranking at one point has failed to win a major title since 2008, before his scandal-fueled hiatus from the sport. He has also struggled with a number of injuries and underwent back surgery earlier this year.
"I've been playing golf for a long time, 20 years on the PGA Tour," the now 38-year-old golf veteran continued. "I've given lots of interviews to journalists in all that time, more than I could count, and some have been good and some not so much. 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."
Jenkins' satirical column, titled "My (Fake) Interview With Tiger*" and subtitled "*Or how it plays out in my mind," is set in a diner after fake-Jenkins shot down fake-Tiger's suggestion to grab Slurpees and meet at an arcade and fake-Tiger didn't want to meet at the bunket alongside the sixth hole at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
Golf humor, you know.
Really, most of the "talking" is done by Jenkins, his bold-faced questions taking up much more space than Woods' short answers. Tiger also noted some of what he though were the "low lights" of Jenkins' piece, but perhaps the golfer objected to this mock-exchange in particular, thinking it too personal:
Q: Not sure you're aware of this, but back when you were at the top of your game I was also the guy who said only two things could stop you from winning more majors than Jack: injury or a bad marriage.
A: You wrote that?
Q: In a moment of brilliance, yes.
A: You nailed it.
David Cannon/Getty Images
"I guess Golf Digest's editors believe this is a good way to sell more magazines," Woods continued. "I'll bet their readers don't think so. Funny they didn't think this poorly of me when I worked with the magazine. I have to say I was surprised when I saw this piece came from Jenkins, who is one of the most distinguished golf writers out there."
Woods—who incidentally was also penning The Players' Tribune's inaugural "Straight Up" column, meant to be a recurring feature where athletes can respond to stuff that's written about them—wrote that he and his rep have asked Golf Digest for an explanation.
On his end, Jenkins responded with a thick-skinned tweet, "My next column for Tiger: defining parody and satire. I thought I let him off easy: golfdig.st/1oZOqoe."
Woods' publicist fired back, per ESPN: "The excuse from Jenkins and Digest that this is satire is even more deceitful. Journalists can't just add an asterisk or a question mark to any slander that they dream up and call it appropriate."