Here's a YouTube link to the entire video of Mayor Ravenstahl answering my questions about his encounter with Tiger Woods. You can check out a transcript later in this post. The mayor insists he didn't know he was heading for a $900-a-ticket private event when set out on his quest to meet Tiger. When pressed, he acknowledges that he called ahead asking for a chance to see Woods but that no one returned his phone call. Ravenstahl says he just wanted to meet him--both as a golf fan and in his capacity as mayor--and that he now wants to put the matter behind him.
Note: During my interview, the mayor criticizes KDKA's coverage of the story. Those comments weren't included in my broadcast report, which focuses on the mayor's direct account of what happened. Because they appear in the unedited interview, I should note that Jon Delano reports he did offer the mayor the opportunity to comment and that the mayor declined.
Click on the "Read More" link below to read a transcript of my Q&A with the mayor.
Bob Mayo: "..The flap over the visit to Oakmont for that pre-U.S. Open event with Tiger Woods. What's your answer to what exactly happened that day?"
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl: "Well, I wish to put this matter behind me, first of all. And my recollection of the situation, being that I was there, is much different than what has been reported from KDKA."
"I was there. I was invited to have lunch. I was invited and given a T-Shirt. I was invited and given a badge to walk along. At no point did I, as was suggested, crash any party, sneak in to any event."
"(I) had discussions with everybody. The only thing that I was asked not to do was ask Tiger Woods for an autograph, which I certainly didn't."
"The sources that are referenced, I think the fact that they are anonymous at this point is troubling to me."
"For example, Gerry Dulac from the Post-Gazette, he was quoted as saying that he was there with me. I spent time with him that day. The events that took place that day are nothing as was reported by KDKA."
"So, it's been frustrating in many ways. And you know, when you're the mayor of the city, and you live your life under the microscope, you understand that type of activity is going to happen."
"I just wish I would have had the opportunity to discuss the issue prior to the story being run, so I could have given my side of the story. But KDKA chose to go in a different direction and I think that's unfortunate."
Mayo: "The Trib reported this back in early May, so KDKA apparently wasn't alone in this. Just to clarify, some people said, oh, you invited yourself. Did you invite yourself, or did the U.S. Open invite you, or did American Express invite you?"
Mayor Ravenstahl: "I went to Oakmont that day in an attempt to meet Tiger Woods. At the time I got there, I didn't know that he was going to golf and American Express people were going to be invited. So I simply went there to say hello, welcome him to Pittsburgh, spend five minutes with him. Didn't know that he'd be golfing in the afternoon with the people."
"Once I found that out, and once I was invited, certainly I accepted. But I did not go out there knowing that American Express had the opportunity to go with him that afternoon. That was never my intention. My intention was simply to say hello, welcome him, and spend, you, know, a minute or two with him."
Mayo: "You had called ahead, but hadn't heard back--you showed up?"
Mayor Ravenstahl: "Yeah, I called personally and hadn't heard back, and so I went out and showed up, in the hopes of spending a couple of minutes with him. At which time I was asked to park here, and come on in and have lunch, and it really went from there."
Mayo: "So that's the point at which you were invited, after you showed up?...
Mayor Ravenstahl: "Absolutely, right...."
Mayo: "...They said, stay, come in?"
Mayor Ravenstahl: "...Yep, absolutely."
Mayo: "The other thing would be, were you there as the mayor, were you there as an individual fan?"
Mayor Ravenstahl: "Probably a little bit of both. You know, I'm certainly a big golf fan, and I there as the mayor, as well, to welcome him to the city. And when I had the brief opportunity for a minute or two, I did welcome him as the Mayor of Pittsburgh. And so, I guess I was there as a golf fan, certainly, but as the mayor as well."
Thursday, June 14, 2007