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Awkward Timing for Book by Tiger Woods

Rejoice, monologue writers — motorists could soon be driving under the influence of Tiger Woods, opening another round of possibilities for late-night talk show hosts.

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Mr. Woods has been the subject of an almost endless stream of jokes since crashing his sport utility vehicle in his driveway, leading him to acknowledge his marital infidelities and take an indefinite leave from professional golf. Among other things, his skills behind the wheel have been compared to his precision when driving a golf ball.

And now, in what is not a joke, but might sound like a setup for one, Hachette Audio in May will release Mr. Woods’s 2001 best seller, “How I Play Golf,” as an audio book. According to the magazine AudioFile, 53 percent of audio book customers listen to the books while driving.

In the audio book, Mr. Woods shares the “psychological practices he uses daily to keep his game in top shape and help him transcend all the ups and downs of golf,” according to a description in Hachette Audio’s spring-summer 2010 catalog, which was mailed recently to bookstores and journalists.

“The catalog went to bed months before the scandal unfolded,” Anthony Goff, publisher and director of Hachette Audio and Digital Media, wrote in an e-mail message. “We had no idea he’d be all over the news for anything other than his golf game.”

Mr. Woods’s favorability rating has plummeted recently to 33 percent, from a prescandal 85 percent, according to a USA Today/Gallup Poll; advertisers including Accenture , Gillette and Tag Heuer have either dropped him or removed ads that feature him.

Tiger Woods' How I Play Golf book
Tiger Woods' How I Play Golf book

The catalog says the book will be promoted with “Father’s Day promotions” like retail display racks — awkward, perhaps, since the fact that Mr. Woods has two young children has intensified the disenchantment of some fans.

“We feel any marital infidelities wouldn’t impact his solid golf advice in the least,” Mr. Goff wrote. “We were selling this title into stores for Father’s Day promotions not for personal relationship advice, but for tips on the game, which are still completely valuable to anyone who knows golf.”

Mr. Woods recorded his portions of the book (some segments are read by the actor Walter Franks) at the time of the hardcover release in 2001, but the audio book was issued only on cassette, and has not been available from the publisher for years. It will be sold on CD and as a digital download.

The audio release was originally scheduled to coincide with a paperback edition of “How I Play Golf,” which has now been postponed, according to Rick Wolff, vice president and executive editor of Grand Central Publishing, an imprint of Hachette.

The decision was made because the hardcover “still sells well,” Mr. Wolff wrote in an e-mail message. “This was postponed long before Tiger ran into his current troubles.”

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