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Tiger Woods and Adventures in Speed Interviewing

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Speed dating tests the concept that you can get down to business with a potential dating partner in five minutes and determine the basics you need to know to go on a real date. When Tiger Woods gave two stand-up (that was truly interesting) interviews to the Golf Channel and ESPN that were pre-arranged to last no more than five minutes that concept was tested in a different context.

Were you given enough to want to learn more? Sure you were but in the case of Tiger, he doesn't want to go on a "real" date with us. He wants us to accept the little that he gives and move on with his public rehabilitation. Five minutes was enough for two networks and not enough for one.

CBS reportedly turned down the opportunity for the speed interviewing technique believing in a more traditional view of broadcast journalism. That would be the kind that allows it to film as long as it wants, within reason and edit it the way it deems most appropriate, or most salacious, whichever fits.

But you can't fault the other two networks. In the case of the Golf Channel it gained exposure to a whole new audience that might not have known where it resides on the dial and introduces people to its golf announcer, Kelly Tilghman. In the case of ESPN, it allowed it to play the interview over and over on three of its television channels. It also draws millions of viewers to its website who will play it whenever it suits them. Ad dollars are tied in to all that and I'm sure ESPN is making the most of it

If you saw both broadcasts have you determined which one you liked the best? Hard to fault either ESPN's Tom Rinaldi or the Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman for their tone or their questions. It's harder than you think to work in that kind of compressed time frame, hope your interview subject doesn't hog too much time with his answers and then immediately move the subject to something else without it all sounding disjointed.

They also had to guard against the opposite of Tiger's answers being lengthy. If he went monosyllabic they had to be prepared to jump in without there being much dead air. Clock's a ticking on that time limitation.

My personal favorite question from the ESPN interview was when Woods was asked why he got married at all. His answer has people parsing his words and focusing on his use of the past tense when he said he loved his wife. Good luck thinking about whether that means he is no longer in love with her.

Tilghman's coup was her ability to say words like "controlling personality" and "national punchline" without her interview subject taking off the microphone and walking away. It had to help that she and Tiger have a good working relationship that allowed him to come to her aid some time ago.

The man has gone from a prepared long statement without taking questions to a five minute interview time frame. Glacial progress but forward movement nonetheless.

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