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Ernie Els brands Tiger Woods selfish over media timing

Tiger and Elin Woods
Woods has been battling to save his marriage

Ernie Els has criticised the timing of Tiger Woods' first public appearance since revelations about his private life made headlines in November.

Woods, who took a break from golf after admitting marital infidelity, will address the media in Florida on Friday.

And Els believes the event will detract from this week's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona.

"It's selfish. This takes a lot away from the tournament," Els told American magazine Golf Week.

"I feel sorry for the sponsor. Mondays are a good day to make statements, not Friday."

The sponsor in question, Accenture, was one of a number of companies that dropped Woods when the revelations about his private life broke in the media - triggered by a traffic accident outside Woods' Florida home on 27 November.

Britons Paul Casey and Oliver Wilson are also unhappy over the timing of the interview.

"It just seems very poor from everyone involved to have it organised," said Wilson. "You have a brilliant event here and the sponsors are owed more to that.

"And for the Tour to be setting up on their own headquarters, I don't think it's very good," added Wilson, referring to Woods' statement being made at the headquarters of the US PGA Tour at the Sawgrass Clubhouse in Ponte Vedra, Florida.

World number one Woods, who has two young children with his 34-year-old Swedish wife Elin Nordegren, admitted to having extra-marital affairs but has not spoken in public since the crash.

On Wednesday, Woods' agent Mark Steinberg, announced that the 14-time major winner would address a select gathering of journalists at Sawgrass, to "discuss his past and his future".

It is anticipated Woods will disclose details of his comeback to the sport.


And Steinberg has hit back at Els' assertion that Woods' media conference is designed to damage Accenture, telling Golf Week that he called one of the company's executives "to give a heads-up".

"Accenture couldn't have been more supportive. It's always good to get your information right before commenting," he added of Els' broadside.

"It's strictly a timing issue. There is a very good reason [to make the statement on Friday] and not do it next week."

Accenture's director of corporate communications Fred Hawrysh said the consulting firm had been consulted about the "times" of the annoucement, though not "the dates per se".

"They said they did not want it to interfere with our tournament," added Hawrysh.

However, Sergio Garcia has also expressed cynicism about the scheduling of Woods' announcement.

"The timing of it is not the best, but he has to do what's best for him, I guess," said Garcia, who will also compete at the WGC Match Play.

The likely date of Woods' return to golf is one of the hottest topics in sport, with the first major of the year, the US Masters, less than two months away.

It is thought he may opt to play at the unofficial - and private - Tavistock Cup event on his home course Isleworth in Florida from 22-23 March.

The Masters, which Woods has won four times, takes place at Augusta National from 8-11 April.

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see also
Repentant Woods sorry for affairs
19 Feb 10 |  Golf
No Woods World Match Play return
12 Feb 10 |  Golf
Faldo urges Woods to make return
04 Feb 10 |  Golf
Woods must show humility - Watson
03 Feb 10 |  Golf
Mickelson keen for Woods return
28 Jan 10 |  Golf
GM ends car loans for Tiger Woods
13 Jan 10 |  Business
Nicklaus warning for absent Woods
10 Jan 10 |  Golf
Tiger Woods loses AT&T as sponsor
31 Dec 09 |  Business
Tag Heuer 'to drop Woods image'
18 Dec 09 |  Americas
Woods loses key sponsorship deal
14 Dec 09 |  Americas
I knew nothing - Woods's caddie
13 Dec 09 |  Golf
Tiger Woods takes break from golf
12 Dec 09 |  Americas
Tiger Woods's career in photos
12 Dec 09 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf

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