Devil Ball Golf - Golf

Say this for Tiger Woods: the man knows gamesmanship.

Woods, sidelined by a troublesome knee injury, was scheduled to speak to the press in advance of the AT&T National Tuesday morning. And since the story of Woods' fall from golf's pinnacle is always the most significant story in golf, Woods knew he'd be getting barraged with questions about his health and his projected return. So, minutes before he was scheduled to begin the press conference, he tweeted this:

Tiger Woods puts the media on the hook for a million bucks

Wow. That's taking media manipulation to a whole new level. Imagine if this catches on ... you'd have athletes offering a million bucks to charity if nobody asked them about allegations of cheating, or steroids, or that boneheaded play they made that cost their team the game. You'd have politicians promising to enrich orphans if nobody asked them about that embarrassing incident in the hotel room back in the '90s. This could warp journalism forever!

So would the media take the bait? Would they back down and not ask the only question anyone really cares about regarding Woods?

Nope. Very first question was about Woods' health, and he smiled as soon as it was halfway asked. "There goes the donation," said one of his staffers.

(For the record, Woods gave another of his non-answer answers, saying his health is not great but that it's better than in 2008, when he was sidelined for more than half a year and came back to win half a dozen tournaments. He hopes to be back by the U.S. Open, but is doubtful for any tournaments before that.)

There it was, then. A million dollars gone. Well, not gone, just not given to charity. Woods didn't break character, and nobody asked whether he was serious about keeping a million bucks from his foundation just to control the conversation. The press conference ended without another word on the donation, but just afterward, Woods tweeted a followup:

Tiger Woods puts the media on the hook for a million bucks

So there you go, all a big goof. This time, anyway.

-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee-

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