COMMENTS: Thanks TMZ in Tiger’s Absence

The big golf news that closed the newscast at CBS and at ABC was Tiger Woods' return to the professional tour after eight months off for knee surgery. Presumably because of the usual copyright restrictions concerning sports footage, neither report is available as an online videostream. So NBC's Lisa Myers and CBS' Bill Whitaker brought us a second golf story courtesy of TMZ, the celebrity news Website. It concerned last weekend's Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles, which, CBS' Whitaker reminded us, had been broadcast by CBS Sports.

Northern Trust is a Chicago-based bank that parlayed its sponsorship of the golf tournament into a weekend of parties for clients and executives on the Sunset Strip and in Santa Monica. That is where TMZ comes in. It obtained party entertainment footage featuring country singer Sheryl Crow and vintage rock-n-rollers Chicago.

What made the parties news was that Northern Trust had also received $1.6bn from the Treasury Department's TARP bailout, so theoretically the taxpayers helped pay Chicago's $100,000 performance fee. NBC's Myers told us the bankers' explanation: "It is a healthy bank that actually made money last year and these are legitimate marketing activities…It did not seek the bailout money but was asked to take it by the government." CBS' Whitaker added that "the tournament contract was signed a year ago before the government bailout existed."


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