Woods unhappy at engagement publicity
Tiger Woods blasted the owner of the South African game reserve where he proposed to Swedish model Elin Nordegren in a column on his web site, saying he was disgusted at the way he was exploited.
Woods proposed to his long-time girlfriend after playing in the Presidents Cup golf matches, in which United States and International squads shared the trophy when Woods and Ernie Els were level in a darkness-halted playoff.
"The only positive out of the whole trip is that Elin didn't say no," Woods wrote in the Internet message posted Tuesday.
Woods ripped Adrian Gardiner, founder of the Shamwari Game Reserve, saying he was "betrayed" and exploited for the sake of publicity after being promised privacy.
"In a word, I'm disgusted about the way he handled things," Woods wrote. "I had been planning to ask Elin to marry me for months and wanted to do it in a private, unique atmosphere.
"It was such a great moment in our lives, and he cheapened the experience because he was so self-serving. Needless to say, we will never go back."
Woods and friends went on a four-day stay at the reserve. The world's top-ranked golfer said he was promised privacy but by the end was being hustled for pictures and having newspapers tipped off on his whereabouts.
"He promised to protect my privacy ... but went back on his word, not only alerting the newspapers about my engagement to Elin Nordegren, but inviting the mayor and local school children to the airport when we departed," Woods wrote.
"Even worse, he took pictures at the reserve to promote his web site, and had us detained in a holding cell at the airport so we would pose for more photos with the mayor.
"Saying we were uncomfortable and totally shocked is an understatement."
Gardiner's antics delayed Woods' ability to tell his parents about his engagement before the news became public, Woods wrote.
"At the airport, the mayor is saying congratulations, and I haven't even told my parents about the engagement," he wrote. "I really wanted to talk to them about it before the news got out, but it was too late.
"For a place that supposedly prides itself on privacy, they totally let us down."
Woods said the hassle was a sad end to a lovely time in South Africa, which included him swimming alongside seals in chilly water and speaking privately with Nelson Mandela after the Cup's opening ceremony.
"He said he had kept up with me and asked about my dad," Woods wrote. "His mind is still sharp as a tool and I really enjoyed talking to him. In terms of people I respect, he's right behind my parents. He's an awesome man."
Woods called the Presidents Cup "the best environment I've ever experienced as a professional as far as a team event", topping prior Ryder and Presidents Cup events.
Woods said the idea of having a one-on-one tie-breaker showdown for the Cup is a bad notion, writing, "I don't think it is right for an individual to represent the team", and applauded the decision not to return the next day.
"I think a tie was the right decision," he wrote. "First of all, there was no light and it was almost impossible to see.
"Also, it was a logistical nightmare. I was leaving that night for my vacation. Most of our team was flying back to the U.S. that night on a private charter and some guys were leaving the next morning for a tournament in Sun City.
"No one was comfortable with the playoff. The real problem was television. We should have started the singles matches 1 1/2-hours earlier, so we would have had more daylight."
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