TigerWoods.com announced that Eldrick will have his initial post-beatdown press conference tomorrow morning. This is a very interesting, unique PR move by a very media-savvy entity – the nebulous, nefarious Tiger Woods “Team.”
Marital transgressions and behavioral choices aside – this is simply PR analysis – it is noteworthy that the sole source of reliable Tiger Woods information has been his very own website, not a small feat in this era of ubiquitous media. The Kim Jung Il-caliber lockdown of all information about El Tigre’s whereabouts has led to rampant, TMZesque rumors and speculation (is he in sex rehab? is he golfing? is he paying Elin to remain with him?), and of course demand that Tiger “give us what we’re owed” as a collective public.
Presumably, we are owed a heartfelt, tearful apology in primetime – my guess is that Oprah is ideal, Bob Costas would be more relevant, 60 Minutes would suffice – but the fact is, we are owed nothing. That’s a debate for another day, though – because that’s not what we’re getting.
And good for Tiger. The continued Gestapo-Media tactics from Tiger’s camp make his approach ingenious.
Not only is he NOT kowtowing to public (and media) opinion, he is running a completely counter-intuitive campaign to address the ‘scandal,’ which by the way has been brewing for FOUR months – what amounts to eons in our cultural milieu. Here’s a look at the facts from tomorrow’s event:
1) The press conference is on a Friday, the political ‘dead period’ heading into a weekend when stories can more easily be buried.
2) The press conference is a prepared statement
3) He will NOT be taking questions.
4) He invited only FOUR journalists, of his choosing.
5) The conference is in his backyard, mere miles from his home in Florida.
6) Tiger is having the conference during the PGA Tour season kickoff – a relatively major event – the Match Play Championships, otherwise a celebratory period for the PGA.
7) The aforementioned tournament is sponsored by Accenture, the first business partner to drop Tiger from sponsorship after the Elin scandal broke.
The most intriguing aspects here are 6 & 7- Tiger’s Timing. Why now? Why distract from the Tour, and draw attention both to and away from his former employer? Obviously intentional moves by the Woods Camp.
Prior to Elingate, Tiger and his people have guided his career perfectly, from selecting the events in which to compete, public appearances, opening the Tiger Woods Learning Center, branding tournaments in his name, crafting a perfect PR image that culminated in reliable journalists becoming trained to receive the ‘breaking’ Tiger news solely from the aforementioned TigerWoods.com site. Beautiful work, and his people produced a cottage industry worth over $1billion (with a ‘b’) to his coterie/family, and an indescribable amount to the PGA Tour, media outlets covering the Tour and all companies affiliated with The Brand.
In short, this is a very calculated move, and though it’s being universally panned as “arrogant,” “selfish,” “misguided” and “reprehensible,” it may be the most intelligently crafted facade of fakery seen in recent times. He is leaving himself very vulnerable to a multitude of criticisms – he wasn’t genuine, he was too controlling, he detracted from the Tour, he disrespected his sponsor, ex-sponsor and soon to be ex-wife – but he is also controlling his own image yet again, in the exact fashion that he so chooses.
This era has proven that even perfect athlete/celebrities are not insulated from critqiue, criticism and controversial commentary – accordingly, Tiger is leaving the modern media to do what they do best; disseminate stories with gossip & speculation masquerading as news.
The fact remains that Tiger’s Return to Golf – whether it’s at the Master’s (shhhh), or in 2015 – will be the biggest sporting event outside of the Super Bowl, and the sport of golf & the sports media will find themselves yet again at Tiger’s mercy. . .and on his terms. Don’t forget – this is, after all, The Year of the Tiger.