Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
I first heard about the “serious injuries” to Tiger Woods Thanksgiving weekend when my wife asked me if I’d heard the news.
I told her I hadn’t. But when I initially learned more about the story, I figured he just hit the accelerator instead of the brakes and that was why he hit a fire hydrant and a tree, wrecked his SUV, and was taken to the hospital.
Now, as the days have passed since the initial incident was reported, we know Tiger Woods has had “transgressions.”
Many a sports reporter has written that these actions by the world’s most well-known athlete will not affect his image. I beg to differ.
For starters, the way that this was handled by Woods and his PR team (if he even has one) was absolutely atrocious. Instead of the laser-like focus he has exhibited on the golf course, when it came to his carefully managed public image, he and his team faltered at the most inopportune time.
In a Public Relation crisis situation, the goal is to mitigate the negative perception of the brand. The way to do this is to tell your story first in an honest manner and to provide information in a transparent way as the situation allows. Tiger Woods did not do this, and as a result, ceded control of the story to someone else. Simply put, his brand took a brutal hit.
Having said that, I agree that what occurred is a private matter to be handled within his family. It is very apparent that there are things he and his wife need to work out. Regaining trust is a hard thing to do. It is even harder if you don’t have control of your own messaging and someone else is telling your side of the story for you. Until Tiger can recapture the controls of the runaway tabloid train that is now his public life, I don’t know if he’ll ever have the time needed to rebuild his personal life.
I know I’ll never look at him the same way again.