if there’s one thing i’ve learned in a decade of doing public relations for high power individuals: you can’t be all things to all people. some folks are gonna love you no matter what because they need someone to believe in, to look up to, and to give them a sense of order as the chaos of real life spins around us. others, too, will hate on you. because they hate authority. they identify with the story of the haves and have nots. the notion that someone else’s riches most certainly come at the expense… and more likely exploitation… of others. what’s interesting is how the individual can get lost in all of this. we project our own issues onto leaders and figure heads, making them responsible for our successes and failures, our joys and pains. and these larger than life figures are the partners in that strange dance, taking responsibility (sometimes) for the stuff that goes right, or wrong. it will always fascinate me.
but i digress. the point is: tiger’s spectacular failure yesterday. here is a guy who went into hiding like a little weenie boy at a time when he should have showed his face and accepted responsibility. the longer he hid, the more his image suffered. finally, over a month late, he showed up in a highly staged, highly controlled setting and gave a robotic speech that covered WAY TOO MUCH GROUND.
he spoke for 13.5 minutes. that was 8.5 minutes too long. all the public wanted to hear was
1) he was sorry and
2) when he’s coming back to golf.
instead he meandered into self indulgent defenses and attacks … he did not use performance enhancing drugs (of course we were all thinking viagra instead of steroids) … people should not blame elin (dude, no one blamed elin. if anything we loved the thought of her giving tiger the beatdown. the chinese new CGI video? brilliant!)… the media shoud respect his children’s privacy (sorry dude, but you put your family into this terrible position and have no right to whine about it). then to bring buddhism into it? that smacked of total insincerity. one of my favorite comments to come across Twitter was that he meant “Booty-ism.”
there are few people in the world with the stature and power of tiger woods. when he speaks, the entire world listens … especially after this crazy debacle. at this stage in the game, people did not want to know “tiger’s side of the story.” short and simple would have gone a whole lot further to begin the healing. he has to earn our trust and patience back before he’s allowed to have a say in anything. all we wanted was an indication of his acceptance and repentance. utter humility and a bit of real info (when he’s coming back) was what the event called for. yet tiger, in his unending hubris, decided to make it about himself: his side of the sordid tale. clearly, he is still surrounding himself with sycophants who shield him from reality.