Neil Best Newsday columnist Neil Best

Neil Best first worked at Newsday in 1982, then returned in 1985. His SportsWatch column debuted in 2005.

Time passes quickly in 21st Century news cycles, but even by modern standards, Tiger Woods has pulled off a minor media miracle in the past 365 days.

A stretch that began with the Great Tabloid Siege of 2009 - 20 consecutive New York Post front pages - has ended with a collective post-Thanksgiving yawn.

Not that that necessarily was Woods' strategy. But absent any golf victories this year, it has worked pretty well for him, boring us into indifference.

The tryptophan-inspired media tour tied to the first anniversary of his Thanksgiving from Heck served to highlight a reality of sports celebrity scandals:

Once the initial titillation fades, we remember that the only reason we cared about most of these guys in the first place was because of what they do on the field.


So it was that during Woods' robotic interview on ESPN Radio last week, I found myself waiting for the personal stuff to be over so Woods could address his ragged golf game.

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A year ago, that would have been unfathomable. But here we are.

Maybe it would be different if Woods were a more interesting fellow off the course, or at least more willing to share something interesting with us. He's not.

Many of us last week naively made a big deal of the fact that Tiger had returned to Twitter for the first time in 17 months. His followers more than doubled in one day. His agent, Mark Steinberg, told CNBC it was a way for Woods to "connect with his fans en masse.''

Woods managed three posts in the 24 hours leading up to the ESPN interview Nov. 18, then one in the ensuing week. Thanks for the connection, dude!

Oops. Sorry. That's just me being a media meanie.


When CNBC asked Steinberg about the cynical reaction to Woods' ESPN interview and a first-person essay in Newsweek, he said this:

"He got chastised for not talking and not connecting to the public and then he does what he does and that's not good enough either. I don't think the public has been as hard on him as the media has.''

A fairer point would be that the public doesn't care as much about him as the media does at this stage.

Tiger is old news, a step up from where he was, image-wise, to be sure. But that is not good for business as Steinberg works to rebuild his endorsement portfolio.

The pace of the news cycle works both ways. Woods was right when he told The Associated Press, "If this had happened to someone in the '60s or '70s, it wouldn't have been as big. It wouldn't have gone as global as fast.''

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But that also is why the world long since has moved on.

The next step is obvious - the only sports public relations gambit that never fails.

Tiger knows it and we know it.

It's the path that led Kobe Bryant and Alex Rodriguez to redemption and now is working its magic on Michael Vick.

Shut up and win.