PALM DESERT, California, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Golfweek magazine has fired its editor Dave Seanor for the controversial decision to depict a noose on the cover of the Jan. 19 issue, the latest chapter in the Tiger Woods “lynch” affair.
Seanor has been replaced by Jeff Babineau, the switch coming nine days after American cable television network The Golf Channel suspended one of its presenters for two weeks for making a racially sensitive comment at the expense of Woods.
Anchor Kelly Tilghman, a former playing professional, joked in a telecast with Nick Faldo during the PGA Tour’s season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship that players bidding to challenge Woods might have to “lynch him in a back alley”.
Golfweek apologised in a statement on Friday for its Jan. 19 cover, which carried the headline: “Caught in a Noose” with the subtitle: ‘Tilghman slips up and Golf Channel can’t wriggle free.’
William P. Kupper Jr., president of Turnstile Publishing, Golfweek’s parent company, said: “We apologise for creating this graphic cover that received extreme negative reaction from consumers, subscribers and advertisers across the country.
“We were trying to convey the controversial issue with a strong and provocative graphic image. It is now obvious that the overall reaction to our cover deeply offended many people. For that, we are deeply apologetic.”
Babineau, who has worked for Golfweek for the last nine years in roles ranging from editor and deputy editor to senior writer, added: “We know we have a job ahead of us to re-earn the trust and confidence of many loyal readers.
“Our staff is very passionate about the game. Our wish is that one regretful error does not erase more than 30 years of service we’ve dedicated to this industry.”
Tilghman’s “lynch” comment was made to Briton Faldo on Jan. 4 after the second round of the Mercedes-Benz Championship on the Hawaiian island of Maui.
She apologised to world number one Woods before issuing a public apology four days later.
“During our golf broadcast, Nick Faldo and I were discussing Tiger’s dominance in the golf world and I used some poorly chosen words,” Tilghman said.
“I have known Tiger for 12 years and I have apologised directly to him. I also apologise to our viewers who may have been offended by my comments.”
Mark Steinberg, Woods’s agent, said in a statement last week that the story was a non-issue.
“Tiger and Kelly are friends and Tiger has a great deal of respect for Kelly.
“Regardless of the choice of words used, we know unequivocally that there was no ill-intent in her comments. This story is a non-issue in our eyes.”
Tilghman is working as an anchor for a second consecutive season with The Golf Channel, which became the PGA Tour’s exclusive cable partner in a 15-year deal starting in 2007.
She is scheduled to return to the commentating booth at next week’s Buick Invitational outside San Diego where Woods will be bidding to win the title for a four successive year. (Editing by Martin Petty)
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