Tiger Woods isn't getting the Fuzzy Zoeller treatment

December 3, 2009
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I guess some transgressions are forgivable and others are not. At least when it comes to the world of big-time athletes and endorsement deals.
Tiger Woods’ biggest endorsers—including Gatorade, Nike, Gillette and Chevron—are sticking with him. We all know what Woods did and is accused of doing, so I won’t go into all that here.

But I hearken back to 1997, when Indiana native Fuzzy Zoeller had an indiscretion at The Master’s. He uttered some very unfortunate racial jokes about Woods to other golfers. Those words were caught on tape and for a while made headlines.
I think most of us can agree, there’s no place for racial jokes in sports or anywhere. Kmart and the rest of Zoeller’s sponsors dropped him like a hot potato.

But I can’t help wonder if the 180-degree different treatment each man received following their faux pas is more about the type of indiscretion or the relative return on investment each man promised his corporate partners.
In any event, Woods, so far, has come out unscathed in the commercial sense. His corporate partners don’t appear to have any more discretion than he does.
Swiss watch company Tag Heuer has run ads—including a big cover ad in USA Today—this week, featuring Tiger Woods that read “What are you made of?”

Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, ran an ad in the Wall Street Journal featuring Woods walking through the tall fescue of a golf course with the line “The road to high performance isn’t always paved.”

I think I speak for crisis communication experts everywhere when I say to that ad, “Yikes!”

On the cover of Accenture’s Web site today, the company has a picture of Woods in the rough with the line, “Opportunity isn’t always obvious.”
To quote ESPN’s Tom Jackson, “C’mon, man!”

Maybe Woods’ won’t lose a penny in sponsorships. Maybe, as local sports marketing guru Larry DeGaris suggested on WIBC earlier this week, some men may actually find Woods’ more admirable after recent revelations about his personal life.

But then there’s this. Jesper Parnevik’s public apology to Woods’ wife, Elin Nordegren. Parnevik introduced Woods and Nordegren, who worked for Parnevik and his wife as a nanny.
Parnevik had some sharp words and advice for Woods yesterday after finishing first-round play at the PGA Tour's final-stage of qualifying being held at Bear Lakes Country Club in Florida.

“It’s a private thing, of course, but when you are the guy he is, the world’s best athlete, you should think more before you do stuff,” Parnevik said.

Then he unleashed the line that had to make every Nike executive from Oregon to New York cringe.

“Maybe not just do it, like Nike says,” Parnevik said.

Unscathed? Time will tell. And that’s not a line from a Tag Heuer ad.


    When you accept almost a billion dollars over your short career from sponsors you of course are held to higher standards. You choose along to bring in or at least create the risk of bringing in your personal exploites. If you do not want to have that happen then turn down the money and just oplay golf. On another note- If the PGA tour is going to live with Woods, then they should die with him as well. I have always thought it so very improper to put a single individual on such a high pedastal. Do you all out there now think he is even close to the real winners of past, Palmer, Nickalus, Player, Snead to name a few? Maybe in golf ability, but certainly not class. To be the man the PGA tour wants to shove down our throats, you need both. Right on Parvanik!
    • Parnevik
      Okay. I don't condone Tiger's actions, but I do think Parnevik is a self righteous jerk. His public expression of regret about introducing Elin to Tiger Woods is audacious. The woman was employed as a "nanny" and now she is married to the world's most famous athlete. I wonder if she would prefer her former career path over her current dilemma. No one is immune from heartbreak and it affects all economic classes.

      Parnevik needs to keep his mouth shut and let Tiger and Elin work out their differences.
      • Good For You
        I cannot tell you how many times the Fuzzy/Tiger debacle has come up in discussions among my friends. Until yesterday, the common concensus (other than myself) was that Tiger was just a kid and was being controlled by his late father, Jesse Jackson and most regretably, Al Sharpton. Tiger sandbagged Fuzzy for four days while the media hacked away at him and he lost his endorsements from K-Mart and Dunlop only then to step forward and quietly say "It's alright".
        Everyone forgets the Tiger/Nike commercial in which he states "There are still golf courses I can't play today because of my color" What was THAT?? Today, this has all changed with my friends agreeing with me at last. Fuzzy's remarks WERE wrong, but he was and still is regarded as a jokester and plays to the people both verbally and physically.
        The first sad truth is that we have lost the ability to laugh at ourselves. Not every joke told about African Americans is racist. The same goes for any minority. One must look at the big picture because once someone is branded as a "Racist", they have no defense. Lest we forget the more recent Don Imus situation. No one took the time to consider his past joking and ALL of the charital work he and his family does. The Imus ranch for kids with cancer, the Fallen Heroes Fund for returning vets with war wounds. Their work combatting against Autism. If a person is a jokester, take that into consideration before you smash his very livelihood.
        Well Fuzzy, out of respect for you, I won't shop at K-Mart, have yet to buy anything with a Dunlop logo on it and have a Fuzzy Duck headcover for my driver. Out of sheer disgust for the horribly racist commercial by Tiger and Nike, I won't buy Nike products.
        Maybe Fuzzy should wait until the fourth day to step forward and tell Tiger "What Goes Around, Comes Around".
        • Two Very Different Transgressions
          Comparing Zoeller's racial jokes with Woods' weakness for the ladies is irresponsible. They are not the same thing.
          Our country has demonstrated that it is willing to forgive transgressions of a sexual nature. Remember President Bill Clinton and a young intern named Monica? As a society, we forgave him. However, our society is not so quick to forgive transgressions which insult people based on race. Nor should we. Zoeller's racial jokes are unforgivable.
          Tiger's sponsors have aligned with our society as a whole. We are ready to forgive a wandering eye and a breach of marriage vows, so long as the transgressor is genuinely sorry. We should not forgive the ugliness of racism. Zoeller's and Tiger's transgressions are not the same and they should not be treated as if they are the same.
          • Roger's Transgressions
            Hey Roger,

            Perhaps you should look up the word racist. Making a joke does not necessarily qualify one as being racist, since he or she may have directed that to an indivdual and was not dismissing an entire group of people. And to say that making a racial joke is unforgiveable? Huh?

            In case you haven't noticed, people make bad decisions on the spur of the moment. Most people at one point or another have told jokes that were inappropriate. Does that imply that they are not to be forgiven? Perhaps you have said one of some type of joke you are or were sorry for. Are you not to be forgiven?

            But for an individual to carry on multiple affairs over a period of time and tell continuous lies to cover it up? That's not a mistake, that is planned and is an indication of poor character and is not deserving of the plaudits, excuses, and dismissal that Woods will continue to get.

            As for me, I'm sticking with Fuzzy. If he were a comedian, nothing would have been said; does that make it right? No, just a double standard practiced by minorities all of the time.

            Tiger - me eye, I'm no fan!
          • Right on Berwick Guy
            I couldn't have said it better myself.
          • The True Double Standard
            Hey Berdick:

            Perhaps you should simply learn how to read. You completely missed the point. The two acts are different and, thus, should be treated differently. You seem to be very quick to defend the telling of inappropriate jokes. Apparently you condone such conduct, and based on your comments engage in the same.
            Is your moral outrage about Tiger equally applied to Elliot Spitzer or Mark Sanford? How about Bill Clinton?
            Your blanket condemnation of minorities speaks volumes about your mindset. For you, intolerance is perfectly acceptable, but cheating on your spouse shows a lack of character. According to your bizarre logic, sponsors should drop Tiger but by contrast they should say "Aw shucks, Zoeller is just being one of the guys." Neither of these men showed good judgment. But the impact of their conduct is not the same.

            I look forward to Tiger's eventual return to the golf course.
          • outrage
            Surely the impact of one's conduct is dependent upon your relationship to the 'conductor'. Tiger Woods cheating on his wife does not affect me personally, but it does affect his wife, his family and his friends. To those family and friends, my thoughts would be that they'd rather they be dealing with Tiger having told a few 'white jokes' than dealing with his rumpy pumpy habits.

            The impact of their conduct (zoeller and woods) certainly is not the same. One made stupid comments off the cuff in a locker room. The other has purposefully maintained an illicit relationship for 31 months and even in the throes of capture, sought to manipulate his lover to cover his deceit. Look forward to Tiger playing golf? I'd rather buy tickets to a Fuzzy Zoeller comedy night.
            cintzo - out
          • Unfortunate
            Very interesting comments. It's much too early to tell what will happen with Tiger's endorsement deals. If more and more women continue to come forward it could be devastating to his marketability. It would show the intent to deceive over a long period of time. If he had a one-time fling then I think a lot more people and companies would be willing to forgive him. I think the person hurt the most in all of this is his wife. I don't blame her for going ballistic when she found out. I have lost a great deal of respect for Tiger. I still respect him for his golfing achievements, but it stops there.
          • tiger team
            self ritcheous Tiger and the cronies at Nike along with Al Sharpton were leading the parade when Fuzzy got slammed for his indiscretions - where are they now - or is screwing around more acceptable to them than a few inappropriate remarks - when you are as good as Tiger in your respective field nothing you do is private - he made tons of money being a marketing icon - maybe he should pay for his indiscretions and not be given a free pass
          • wuzzy as good as tiger?
            are you kidding me? since when did Fuzzy Zoeller win 4 majors in a year; the reason everyone thinks Fuzzy embarrassed himself is because he wasnt that good.
          • Torture me, but not my son!
            So many of you are quite dismissive and rather pedestrian in "forgiving" a transgression that never affected you, yet absent of any tolerance of one that has survived the Ages, all cultures, and most households.
            And I am rather certain that a worldly and privileged 21 year-old, at this particular point-in-time, COULD with relative ease, have "survived" a few bigoted and off-color (no pun intended) references, even to the "tenderest" and most unfavorably put-upon fraction of his complex genealogy.

            But there was a failure to consider that this fraction within Tiger...was of the CONSUMMATE...of EARL! Earl didn't grow up thinking the world was his oyster. Earl shucked oysters. Earl didn't create applause, fanfare, or fluttering hearts just by flashing a perfect smile or sinking a 30-foot eagle. Earl was a dedicated husband, father, and patriot, heroically serving his country...silently in the Armed Forces. Earl heard "Fuzzy's joke" before Fuzzy was telling them. Earl learned to "smile"...in order to offset the internal pain. Earl could travel the world as an American hero, protecting her international interests...and Earl...could STILL...somehow come "home" and be a stranger in his own land, a "boy"...in the body of A Man!

            The first Master's trophy was Tigers' reward for everything...and he gave it to Earl.
            This was truly EARL's gift to Tiger from...on high! and through the Ages...Tiger is A MAN!!!!

            And NOW, that which was "of Earl"...was being humiliated just LIKE Earl...even as Tiger was proving his fitness of fatherhood to HIS son, his detractors kept at it saying in essence, "choke, Tiger..before you win The Masters"...And Earl said...OH..HELL...NO! Not while I still have a breath.
          • That comment above made me puke my lunch
            Let me help you out here, "when can i be a man'.

            'At this particular point in time' = now

            As for the rest of that drivel, there is no help available. Just let us know which one is God. is it EARL? Or is it HIS son TIGER?
          • Woods and Roger
            Hey Roger,

            You point out my supposed failure to read and take your high road of your so-called point that I missed. You talk about the hurt people feel and then you call me a name? Some consistency! Typical for a liberal. Nice......
          • Racial Remarks...what a lie that was!!
            Do any you actually remember what Fuzzy said?? I heard the word racial remarks and I have to wonder "has our world gotten that crazy?" I thought it was a brutal attack at the time and I think so even more now..Fuzzy joked about Tiger's choice of food for the banquet, the winner always gets to pick the dinner, Tigers' favorite was Fried chicken and collard greens (one of my favorites also)!! No one ever told me I was eating racial food!! Fuzzy said "Don't let him choose Fried Chicken and collard greens, what you didn't hear about on the news was that Tiger had just said he was glad Fuzzy didn't win because Fuzzy always had White Castles. No one mentioned that!!! They were just joking with each other and they used to get along great before this incidence..the media and Oprah made a huge deal out of this...and it ruined Fuzzy's life and reputation, K-Mart dropped him and he lost his fishing show and most of his sponsors, the man suffered greatly because he was teasing around with the new kid...I know Fuzzy and he doesn't have a mean or racist bone in his body, he is however quite a funny man, now just on his guard every second of his life, how sad!! You could never begin to compare an innocent remark to a deliberate act of adultry!!
          • Tiger's Adultry
            One more point - back when our nation cared about morals, Woods would have been dumped by his sponsors for his horrid indiscretions. For that matter, so would have Clinton. How many Congressmen have been forced to resign because of sexual misdeeds even though we don't seem to care about what liberals do? See any double standards here??? No more Buicks or Nike's for me!
          • racial????
            I still fail to see what you think Fuzzy said that was racial, I read the contents over and over and see nothing even remotely racial...
          • answer my 8 year old's question, tiger.
            last sunday when my 8 year old boy and i were playing golf we stopped in the clubhouse turning the back 9. splattered all over the t.v. in the clubhouse was conversation about tiger...refusing to talk to the police. comments by the members were not favorable to tiger. when my kid and i left..he asked me why tiger would not talk to the police. my son knows to reguard the police as friends and always do what they say. i didnt have a clear answer for my son. it appears with hundreds of thousands of children that look up to tiger have been thrown a "hook". so...leaving tiger alone so he can "work out his problems" is ok with me. as long as he leaves my boy alone and all of the young boys and girls that look up to him. deal?
          • You must be kidding
            The difference between the two indiscretions are one is a personal relationship matter that in 99.9% of the cases is dealt with privately between the people involved and their families. The other situation was a very public statement made at a historic venue at a historic time â?? the first African-American to win The Masters.

            The fact Fuzzy felt comfortable enough to make such a statement in a very public way shows a very cavalier attitude on racism. Friend or not, as a black man, I was insult by the comments (as were millions like me), including Tiger. I am aware of Fuzzyâ??s reputation as a jokester. Well, a joke is only a joke if people laugh. No one (of consequence) was laughing.

            Now, that being said, I don't condone what Tiger did. As a husband, and the father of two girls myself, I would never do anything to jeopardize their opinion on me in such a way. He made an error in judgment that like all domestic matters should be handled by the family in a private way. The fact that it came out in such a way is the only reason we are talking about this.

            So, in short both men made mistakes in judgment. Both men paid a price for their mistake. Fuzzy had his money impacted, because he took his jokes a bit too far in a very public way. The endorsements left because they realized that a statement like that at that time would negatively impact their bottom-line. Tiger was effectively opening up a fresh market of consumers (minorities) to the game and they did not want to be left stating on the sideline. Tiger is having his money impacted via payouts to the wife. The difference is that Tiger will win again, so some endorsements may leave, but I am not worried about Tiger's ability to put food on the table or his place in golf history. If Fuzzy was a better golfer....
          • Forgiveness?
            Too bad Woods didn't treat Zoeller with the same spirit of forgiveness then that he is asking us to provide him with now.
          • What about Tiger's Racist joking?
            No one ever seems to care that Tiger started the whole thing joking with Fuzzy about him and White Castles, but the media didn't bother to report that..joke or not, Fuzzy just joked back and he got all the flack..and I still see nothing he said as racial, unlike what Tiger said.. and Tiger turns around afterwards and trashes Fuzzy. Unbelievable and it ruined a man's life, now Tigers done the same thing to his family is still getting away with it...
          • Eldrick
            Tiger is part black so he gets a pass, just like Barry Obama. Anyone who questions him is labeled a racist. Cany you imagine if this was Phil Mickelson? Have many times has John Daly been dragged through the media for "private issues".? The double standard is hilarious. Tiger is a jerk, period. Anyone who has ever attended a PGA event already knew that.
          • Tigewr is Racist Towards Black Women
            Have you ever seen or read about Tiger being involved with a black woman? hmmmm
          • Being a Racist
            Looking at the various comments indicates very clearly that there are really very few people that know what Racism or Racist means.

            Truly sad, with no thanks to the Progressives.
          • It's all about $$$
            I guess in the past week IBJ became a forum for the good ol' boys. Who knew?

            Both men screwed up royally. Fuzzy Zoeller flapped his jaw for 10 seconds. It killed his career and made him an embarrassment to Hoosierhood.

            Woods, a far better player, is a letch comparable to Bill Clinton, and if this explodes to show he was a habitual adulterer, may very well bite him where it hurts. And he'd deserve it.

            The fact remains that Zoeller's stupid comments alienated at least 13% of the American population without question. His sponsors were jumping off a ship the man himself torpedoed. Woods' transgressions have devastated his family but only questionably offended others; the results are not as immediate as a racist remark. We haven't heard the last of the Woods debacle, and I'm confident there will be significant fallout.

            But for anyone to defend Zoeller and Imus under internet anonymity smacks of both cowardice and a complete lack of empathy of what it has taken for blacks to be taken seriously in ANY white-dominated institution. Mere jokesters? Hardly. Would you be willing to defend Imus and Zoeller in front of your African American friends? What, you meant you don't have any? Imagine that...
          • Fuzzy and Racism

            Racism defined:

            1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
            2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
            3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

            I don't believe Fuzzy's joke fits any of those descriptions. Granted it was inappropriate, but it just shows that there are a lot of people looking for reasons to be offended and perhaps they need to develop some thicker skin and just move on.

            While fried chicken and collard greens may imply a stereotype, it doesn't even come close to being racist.

            Oh, and by the way, Tiger seems to be quite white when it comes to women. So I guess the offense only applies when he decides he wants to be black.

          • Nonsense!!!
            Berwick guy: I agree with most everything you say, but I dont' agree that Fuzzy's comments were inappropriate, they were just everyday comments that we all make all the time, they were not mean spirited,they were not racist, they were just teasing each other about food...if you give the liberals even an inch, they will take a mile,..Tigers comments about Fuzzy and white castles was a hundred times more racist then Fuzzy's comment if you want to put importance on food talk...but they were playin around with each other and there were other guys involved in all this too, Fuzzy just happened to be interviewed in the midst of the joke...that was what was unfortunate, not what he said...if we let the liberal spin fanatics make something out of something so unimportant, they will not allow to say anything anymore..I for one, won't let them get away with their evil intentions..
          • I Couldn't Agree More
            When Presidents cheat its brushed under the rug. When a CEO of a Major Coporation has a mistress its is business as usual. When Tiger Woods strays the world comes unglued. Last time I checked he is human too. Yes, the man is a role model but so are Presidents. I agree with most its an interpersonal issue not something that the world should focus on. I would rather hear about how those who are unemployeed are going to have a job next week not wherer or not Elin and Tiger are going to marriage counceling. There are more important things in this country right now. Leave them alone let them deal with it. IT'S NONE OF OUR BUSINESS! Would you like a TV camera or reporter knocking on your door every time you have a fight with your spouse or partner? I don't think so.
          • Tiger and Fuzzy

            You are correct. I only meant to imply that Fuzzy's joke was inappropriate because of the timing.

            And by the way, the stereotype of fried chicken and collard greens would be more aptly directed toward southerners than any other group.

            Heaven forbid had Fuzzy said anything about watermelon!
          • LOL
            Berwick Guy, you made me laugh!! Your right that is good old southern food! I love it, and the watermelon too!! But I'll be sure to never say it outloud so that I don't get called a racist!!!
          • Past champions
            @Sassafras, excellent commentary... there are a large number of jealous hearted folks out here. They are jealous of Tiger Woods' success and/or talent or angry at the lack of their own. Some are just mild racist in denial ...if that's possible. Hence Obama is always brought into the conversation. Fuzzy deserved everything he got, just like Jimmy the Greek, etc. etc. Tiger's actions werenâ??t directed at any particular group of people, neither were Marv Albertâ??s, and because of that he is still commentating. Truth is, over half of the a@@holes making comments about Tigerâ??s actions have cheated or considered cheating or their spouse, or worse. And if you were a billionaire with a constant flow of women approaching you, you probably would! I am sure the Golden Bear and other past Master's champions have a closest full of crap, sluts included. Nick Faldoâ?¦ câ??mon!! Iâ??ve been to tournaments where the women were just flocking around him. The only difference now and 20 years ago is no one paid attention to golf back then and technology wasn't the same... VMs, texting, etc.
          • Sassafras-a lot of a-s-s' in your name
            First of all, you have absolutely no idea of the company and friends I or anyone else not associated with you keep. I have several friends who are African-american, we don't call them black men, just men. The same goes for my Portugese, Uraguan, and Puerto Rican friends. When we joke, whether there is a racial punch line or not, we laugh-all of us, without anger.
            Look past your anger, see the big picture and understand that some jokes are cruel, some are stupid, and some are funny. If a person who is generally a good and decent man, a man who gives to people and charities and works to make the world better, a man who takes things in stride and tells jokes to make people laugh, but on occasion, makes a gaff (God forbid) why is he branded evil and trashed? Fuzzy and Imus are these guys and you know what? They aren't the Anti Christ.
            Since this article was written, a whole lot more popped up about Tiger-who knows how many affairs, steroids, human growth hormones and only Tiger and God know what else. Does anyone still think these are a few isolated events?
            My AA friends let it go years ago, maybe because they understand that not all jokes with racial tendency are cruel and intended to harm, just ask Tiger about the White Castle jokes he used on Fuzzy beforehand. You can't have both. Hope your assumptions have been answered.
          • fatty
            FUZZY ZOELLER IS VERY FAT HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
            • ha ha ha
            • RAPIST
              HE MAKE OUT WITH HIS DAUGHTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
            • RAPIST
              HE MAKES OUT WITH HIS DAUGHTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT IS JUST WRONG DUUUUDE
            • GRRRR
              !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your messed up fuzzy zoeller
            • http://www.winterbootsforcheap.com
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            • Fuzzy did nothing wrong
              you must be a liberal democrat to be so hateful and mean about things you know nothing about! Fuzzy didn't do anything wrong really, he just made the liberal media upset, that's so easy to do...he didn't make Tiger mad, they are very good friends...but what Tiger has done is horrible, wrong and he does deserve what he gets...be sure your sins will find you out and you sir, should be very worried as foul as you are!

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