by Jessica Shambora
"He is a role model not only for how to play baseball but also for how to remain atop the wobbly pedestal of fame."
-- Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci, who wrote this week's cover story about Derek Jeter, captain of the world-champion New York Yankees and SI's 2009 Sportsman of the Year.
Kudos to Jeter. He stands in stark contrast to the only athlete in history who has received SI's highest honor twice. That would be Tiger Woods, Sportsman of the Year in 1996 and in 2000.
Until this week, it seemed that Tiger and Jeter have a lot in common. They're both sponsored by Procter & Gamble's (PG) Gillette and Pepsico's (PEP) Gatorade. Both have lavish Florida homes. Now we learn that they even share friends: The New York Post reported today that Tiger met Rachel Uchitel--the woman who sparked the controversy over his extramarital liaisons--at Jeter's Trump World Plaza apartment in Manhattan.
I've taken particular interest in TigerGate (more than most people, I bet) because I interviewed Tiger last fall in Asheville, North Carolina, near the site of his first North American course design. It was a thrill. Especially since I had recently left a post at Travel+Leisure Golf magazine to join Fortune. I grew up playing golf. I also went to high school across the street from Stanford when Tiger was a student there and on the verge of becoming a phenomenon.
Am I surprised by the stories about Tiger? Yes. Not that he was capable of the behavior that's been reported, but that he acted that way and got caught. Tiger, after all, is all about control. He doesn't use Twitter. He doesn't get involved in politics. He guards his privacy and his image so fiercely that he wouldn't even tell me which business greats he most admires.
Now the stories swirling around him deprive him of his precious control.
Back to Jeter, another paragon of discipline and focus--as Pattie wrote in a recent post about "situational awareness." As SI crowns the Yankee shortstop this year's model sportsman and we hold him up as one of our earthly gods, let's not forget that he's human too.
And let's recognize that one of the reasons we like Jeter so much is because he too seems to know that he's human. He tells SI: "What makes me angry is when people don't care--not when they fail; everybody fails--or when people act like they don't care." He's not perfect, and he understands the responsibility he carries. "You have one opportunity to do something," he says, "and you never know if you're going to get that opportunity again."
"I'd love to play for the rugby team — that would be great."
--Tiger Woods, joking in response to the IOC executive board's recommendation to include rugby sevens and golf in the 2016 Olympics.
I'm giving Pattie a much-needed day off today and just thought I'd share the story I published today on golf and the Olympics. --Jessica ShamboraJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Aug 14, 2009 2:13 PM ET
"It was just, it was just problem after problem."
-- Tiger Woods, who missed the cut by one stroke on Friday at the British Open, a tournament he has won three times. This is only the second time Woods has missed a cut in a major; the first was at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in 2006. Scotland's famous weather didn't disappoint, delivering rain and high winds on the Turnberry MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Jul 17, 2009 6:34 PM ET
"The only thing that means a lot to me is winning."
-- Tiger Woods, after missing just the fourth tournament cut of his career back in October, 2005. All was not lost though. Since fellow golfer Vijay Singh also missed the cut that weekend, Woods stole the PGA Tour money title back from him. The quote reveals the mindset that makes Woods, four years later, the $100 Million Man, landing him MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Jul 1, 2009 6:07 PM ET
By Jessica Shambora
I'm always glad to see the weekend, but it's unlikely that this one will top the adventure I had last weekend in Asheville, N.C.
As someone who grew up with two seasons -- "summer" and "not summer" -- I was totally unprepared for the glowing red and orange hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Asheville surprised me too. An outdoorsy, hippie enclave, it seems like the Southern counterpart to MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Nov 14, 2008 12:50 PM ET
"Gamble on what's going to move the lever. Pick one or two things [to focus on] that will make an impact."
-- DeLisa Alexander, SVP People and Brand, Red Hat (RHT), at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in north San Diego last week. Alexander spoke on a panel about how to manage and sustain high growth with Carolyn Albanese, Director of Customer Experience at Annin & Co.; Michele Szynal, VP MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Oct 6, 2008 12:40 AM ET
"One thing I've learned playing with people at the top of their game, from captains of industry to rock stars, is that they want to do the things that unsuccessful people don't want to do. They want the risks and the responsibility, whereas others want the comfort in mediocrity."
- David Feherty, CBS Sports golf analyst shared this with me in a conversation this afternoon, casting himself in the role of MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Jun 25, 2008 9:51 PM ET
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