|December 2, 2009|
|Tiger Woods Butchers PR|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|Tiger Woods earned his stripes on the golf course, but the world’s first billionaire athlete is a “pussy cat” when it comes to PR, demurely ducking the public eye. |
His botched handling of PR surrounding the Nov. 27 car crash defies comprehension.
Woods is no babe in the PR woods. He has been a media superstar for the past dozen years. He knows (or should know) there is no escape from the media spotlight. Those same media greatly enriched Woods, paving the way to multiple million-dollar product endorsements. They now must be fed by Tiger.
Apparently upon the advice of legal counsel, Woods has stonewalled media, police and most importantly legions of admirers of the greatest golfer of his generation. That stonewall has allowed all kinds of speculation and rumor to flourish about why Tiger felt the urge to go for spin at 2 a.m.
Many wonder if the Cadillac Escalade was the only victim of the wrath of Tiger’s golf club-swinging wife, Elin. The truth behind Tiger’s attempted joy ride will come out with or without his cooperation. Stonewalling lets others drive the story. Tiger needs to gain control of the tale.
Woods has posted a simplistic and insulting statement on his website saying the crash is a “private matter and I want to keep it that way.” Sorry Tiger, that’s not the way the world works.
Upon becoming the youngest winner of the Masters tournament at Augusta in 1997, Woods voluntarily entered the public arena. That and future success cemented Woods' celebrity and earned him millions in pitchman duties for corporate blue chips like Nike, Gillette, Buick and Gatorade. The clock cannot be turned back.
The decision to dodge the local police investigation smacks of arrogance and entitlement. Believe me, if I was summoned to the local precinct for questions about why I crashed my car into a fire hydrant, I would be there in a flash.
Mark Steinberg, Woods’ agent, sent an email to the Associated Press that noted Tiger’s cooperation with the cops is voluntary and optional. “Although, Tiger realized that there is a great deal of public curiosity, it has been conveyed to FHP [Florida Highway Patrol] that he simply has nothing to add and wishes to protect the privacy of his family.” How’s that for giant buzz-off?
Woods’ past achievements transcend golf. As a player of mixed descent, he shattered the snobby and elitist image of the sport. It’s ironic that Woods has adopted a snobby and elitist response to his car crash.
His statement did get one thing right. It noted: “I'm human and I'm not perfect.” Woods’ fans would forgive Tiger for any of his perceived shortcomings and then move on with their own lives. They just need to hear it from Woods.
Put an end to the whole mess, Tiger. Come clean. Tell your lawyers to take a hike. Your fans are waiting.
Your reputation is at stake.
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