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American Opinion - On the Woods situation:

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opinion Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
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Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

An excerpt from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States:

If cartoonists always have pressed against the limits, then situations such as the Tiger Woods affair have taken them to realms readers find offensive. The Eliot Spitzer scandal raised similar concerns. The next eruption will raise others. Yesterday's cartoon by Steve Kelley struck critics as going too far. Although a panel of that nature probably would not have appeared a decade ago, the cartoon made its point with brutal directness. We understand the reservations, but stand by the cartoon.

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The whole sorry story reeks of pathos. Woods finds himself a subject of mockery and mirth. We are neither professional counselors nor wearers of the cloth, nor, for that matter, entertainers on radio and cable TV, so we will not inflict our advice on a troubled family.

The issue transcends Woods as a person, however; it affects pro golf generally. Golf relies on corporate sponsorship. Attendance does not approach the levels typical of Major League Baseball and the National Football League. Television ratings do not approach NFL numbers, either. Woods has boosted interest. His skill and his charisma pump up viewership and generate attention, although golf's standing as a spectator sport still falls far short of that enjoyed by football and baseball, and probably basketball (certainly as exemplified by March Madness and the NBA finals). Golf occupies a niche, albeit a bigger niche with Woods in the mix. We have not missed any of his majors.

If Woods' decline leads sponsors to abandon not only his personal endorsements but also support for entire tournaments, then other golfers will suffer the consequences. Woods could serve as an excuse for companies to drop sponsorships difficult to justify during a time of economic uncertainty. The women's tour already has had to prune its slate. The men's circuit faces uncertainty.

Woods' absence from the tour creates problems; his presence on the tour could create problems as well. So-called hospitality contributes to golf's presumed ambiance. Will grinning corporate types welcome photo-ops that show them handing Woods vulgar trophies or toasting him at banquets and the like? Woods represents a paradox for his fellow duffers.

-- Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch

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