ESPN decided that a short, tape-delayed interview with Tiger Woods near his mansion columns was better than no interview — and Lightning Round Tom Rinaldi was the first and obvious choice to conduct the interview, the WWL said.
According to ESPN's Josh Krulewitz, the potential for an on-air Tiger chat was floated earlier this week and Rinaldi was informed on Friday that he was selected to do the interview outside Wood's home . "Rinaldi made total sense, since he's covered and interviewed Tiger extensively over the years, " Krulewitz said. " Our key things were no topics were off limits and we chose the interviewer — we prepared accordingly knowing we only had 5 minutes." (Rinaldi did ask about 20 questions in that timeframe, sometimes comically interrupting Woods several times to cram as much in as he could.)
Krulewitz wasn't sure who from Tiger's camp extended the invitation to media outlets — CBS turned down the offer due to the time constraints — but they were aware that other outlets were granted the same access. But, he says, Rinaldi's interview happened before Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman could walk him over to the weeping willows for her turn at trying to yank something out of Zen Tiger.
Either way, ESPN seems like it's claiming victory this time around as it seems like Golf Channel pissed off one of the sponsors of the Transitions Tournament, which was ending just as Tilghman's interview aired.