Too Late to Tame the Tiger

March 12th, 2010 at 1:04 pm | 14 Comments |

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Tiger Woods has made such a mess of his image that rumors are swirling he’s hired former Bush (“W”) White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer to help him resuscitate his brand. Fleisher runs his own sports PR firm. As a public relations strategist, my first reaction to Woods calling in Fleischer was “too much, too little and way too late.” If Woods was serious about holding onto his squeaky clean, all American golfer image, he would have phoned in a professional PR fixer the moment he rammed his car into the tree outside his Florida home last November during an argument with his wife. You knew something was up when after Thanksgiving, the media reported Elin ramming a golf club through the car window. Did anyone believe there wasn’t something fishy about this story?

Since that night, sordid details dribbled out about Tiger’s infidelity with more than a dozen women turning him from American hero into whoremonger du jour. Frankly, after the past three months of PR consultants bungling management of his personal problem, I don’t know if it’s possible for anyone to repair his image anytime soon. It was absolutely idiotic to advise him to host that Feb.19th news conference, where he looked like a robot reading his nonsensical and unconvincing apology from a teleprompter. I don’t know any communications expert or average person who thought that was a success. Tiger looked anything but sincere and his image suffered even more.

As I always advise my clients NEVER, EVER lie to the news media. Reporters will always ferret out the truth perhaps not immediately but eventually. Note: former president Bill Clinton’s Monica affair and famed Senator Edwards messy Rielle Hunter debacle, which has probably ended his political career.

Tiger’s infidelity ranks up there with Michael Vick’s pit bull fighting, it’s that gross. But Vick made some smart PR moves to begin repairing his dirty look: he did a 60 Minutes heartfelt apology interview last year and agreed to do some work with the Humane Society to further demonstrate his remorse and commitment to rehabilitating his behavior toward animals. (I still think the guy is a monster but his image is improving.)

So, how can Ari possibly help Tiger get some clean back into his soiled image? Apparently, Ari is plotting a communications splash around Tiger’s reported return to golf on March 25th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Fla. Prior to the tournament, I would schedule an exclusive taped interview with one of the following programs Bryant Gumbel’s Real Sports and have Gumbel do the interview, he’s tough but hugely credible; 60 Minutes with Katie Couric or Anderson Cooper or the always great Barbara Walters, who would probably make Tiger shed a tear or two and garner lots of sympathy from the public. If he can’t get on a Wheaties box, Barbara Walters is the next best thing!

Ideally this interview would air sometime before Tiger debuts at the March 25th tournament. I don’t know if I would advise Tiger to take any media questions before the tournament as it might rattle his nerves too much. I would allow him to do a short media availability after he is either knocked out of the tournament or wins it. But I would tightly script him on answers to media questions about his infidelity.

Instead of giving him a teleprompter or notes to read from, I think Ari should put him through some intensive media training prior to the tournament like what the McCain folks did to prep Sarah Palin for her debate with Biden. If a reporter asks him “how many women he slept with,” he doesn’t answer, “Lots!” All philandering aside, the response Tiger should have to that question is the one good line that came out of his terrible February press conference: it’s a private matter between him and his wife Elin that they’re working out and he won’t talk about it publicly. I just hope he can say it with some conviction and believability this time. If all else fails Ari could advise Tiger to enter the priesthood. That would be the best image makeover of the century.

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14 Comments so far ↓

  • balconesfault

    Personally, I think Woods should have just gone into his first press conference and said

    “I did it … because it was fun. Now could all you bottom-feeders just mind your own damn business, or at least quit your jobs as supposed real journalists and go work for TMZ?”

  • Independent

    I’m glad to see Tiger finally hiring someone with a little common sense. If he hadn’t been surrounded with Yesmen and SureBoss types, maybe someone could have whispered in his ear that his conduct was unbecoming a highly commercialized sports figure; which Ari surely would have done.

    I’m sure Ari won’t let him, but I hope Tiger doesn’t take off from golf and run as a Democrat for some office in Florida. That’s what Democrats do with sexually dysfunctional men… nominate them for Veep, even put ‘em in the White House… over and over (Roosevelt, Kennedy, Clinton, God only knows who else).

  • balconesfault

    That’s what Democrats do with sexually dysfunctional men… nominate them for Veep, even put ‘em in the White House… over and over (Roosevelt, Kennedy, Clinton, God only knows who else).

    Thanks to polio, Roosevelt was dysfunctional in some ways … but I’ve never heard that sexually was one of them. Meanwhile, from all accounts Kennedy and Clinton seemed to function sexually quite well.

    Meanwhile … Gingrich, Foley, Craig, Vitter, Ensign, Sanford, Hyde, Giuliani, Livingston, Burton, Barr, Bauer, McCain, Helen Chenoweth (the most notable female political philanderer, a prominent critic of Clinton’s adultry), Allen, Thurmond, Dole, Bowers, Calvert, Bauman, Thomas, Fordice, Lukens, Sue Myrick, Huffington (I’m sure you like his story Independent), Mary Fallin, Schmitz, and oh yeah … Reagan.

    I’m not sure what’s more stupid – trying to pitch a partisan political angle in your comment – or actually trying to imply that Dems are caught with their hands in the cootie jar more often than Republicans?

  • Independent

    Balconesfault: “… imply that Dems are caught with their hands in the cootie jar more often than Republicans?”

    Gee, why don’t we all ask Eric Massa (D-NY), eh? If he’s not taking calls, maybe Elliot Spitzer (D-NY)… or his replacement, Patterson (D-NY)… or maybe John Edwards could help explain why those men should be viewed as sexually functional? I bet TeddieK could help us understand the entire Kennedy clan’s problem with sex and women… the family Democrats like to showboat as “America’s only royalty”. LOL.

    If you don’t think Tiger (D-Fla), Clinton (D-NY) and the others are sexually dysfunctional men, I think you’re the guy in need of some therapy –or moral counseling, bud.

    What is it with Democrats these days? Its either first say it’s Bush’s fault and if that doesn’t work… point out a Palin siting and if that doesn’t work… scream the republicans did it too and if that doesn’t work… bash Beck and if that doesn’t work… just lie.

    I guess the Democrats really are on the Highway to the Desperation Zone.

    http://groups.google.com/group/soc.culture.scottish/browse_thread/thread/d9cdcdd28f0e4c81/00fa9673069f7aff?lnk=raot

    “FNC’s Mary Katharine Ham and Juan Williams stepped up the plate with their
    analyses of the apparent chaos on the left. “For the past year,” Ham said,
    “we’ve heard that the GOP is saying hateful things and inciting violence, but
    now you have all these lefties coming out and doing what they accused the GOP of
    doing. I think they’re on the highway to the desperation zone.” Williams
    suggested that things may get worse if President Obama’s signature issue doesn’t
    pass. “There’s a lot of finger-pointing going on in the White House about why
    this presidency hasn’t said exactly what it’s about. It has allowed other people
    to define it, and there is a sense that they are on the edge and could go over
    the edge if this health care bill doesn’t pass.” “

  • agentprovocateur

    “I guess the Democrats really are on the Highway to the Desperation Zone.”

    You’re projecting, sweetie. For anyone to try to paint only Democrats as “sexually dysfunctional” is extremely disingenuous, hypocritical, quite removed from reality, and very desperate.

  • Independent

    agentP, not at all. If you’ve got a Kennedy, Clinton or Massa still around, there’s nothing disingenuous about it… except if you’re a Democrat… then it’s embarassing, too.

    The Highway to the Desperation Zone is also all about Democrats literally seeing their fictionalized “mandate” disappear among voters in the face of reason and transparency. It’s true on HC reform. It’s true on all the hype surrounding global climate change. It’s true on the fraud behind “consumer protection” responsibilities of the govt for things like auto safety, healthy food supply, effective drugs, etc.

    One more Blair House moment and the GOP will be laying glass slivers on that Highway the Democrats are speeding down faster than a Toyota. It isn’t as ugly as Obama’s favorables sliding downhill faster than a greased Al Gore in a speedo.

    Nonetheless, it still won’t be pretty for the Democrats. And it won’t be disingenuous, either.

  • sinz54

    balconesfault:

    AFAIK, none of the Republicans you mention was sexually dysfunctional. Quite the contrary. Like Clinton, their libido was in overdrive. They may have been sinful–but that’s a different thing, and we’re all sinful. (In surveys of older married folks nationwide, 40% of men and 16% of women admitted to having had at least one affair at some point in their marriages.)

    The only Republican whom I know was sexually dysfunctional was Bob Dole (as witness all those TV ads he did about Erectile Dysfunction).

  • balconesfault

    sinz: AFAIK, none of the Republicans you mention was sexually dysfunctional.

    Did I call them dysfunctional? Nope.

    I agree – someone with an overactive libido and too much ego is not sexually dysfunctional. The use of the term was pure stupidity.

    And the attempt to call out Dems for something that a long list of Republicans are guilty of, as if philandering has some sort of partisan slant to it, is just double down stupid.

    Personally, the only philanderers I care about are those who have attacked others for immorality. They deserve to reap the shitstorm that they sowed.

  • agentprovocateur

    re: Independent // Mar 13, 2010 at 11:52 am

    So, where’s your embarrassment at the long list of GOP lovelies that balconesfault provided? It is a losing game to try to smear an entire political party for the sins of a few of its members, as both major parties have plenty of members that engage in bad behavior. You’re certainly free to crow about this alleged “Highway to the Desperation Zone” but we’ll see how that works out in early November, won’t we?

  • Independent

    agentP: “You’re certainly free to crow about this alleged “Highway to the Desperation Zone” but we’ll see how that works out in early November, won’t we?”

    My hunch is, agentP, that when the election results from November come in and the GOP picks up all the easy hanging fruit and then a ton of fruit the Democrat natl party will say is “safe” the week prior to election, guys like you will fade away and hide in shame.

    No one likes to associate with a group (Dems) that literally was crowing about the death of the GOP a few short months ago and now finds itself struggling for survival while avoiding yet another enforced political suicide act by their man in the WH.

    Like Screamin’HowieDean said last week, “It’s not whether the Republicans will pick up seats in November, it’s whether they’ll win majorities in the Senate and House. And can the President recover in time by running a new campaign on obstructionist Republicans”.

    When the fat lady is already singing, I think it might be time for you guys to strike the tent and head for the safety of the political wilderness. Frankly, I wish we could use Gitmo to house NancyP and what remains of her spawn of Satan peers… but that wouldn’t be cricket, would it. Then again, it’d reunite Democrats with their al Qaeda supporters.

  • agentprovocateur

    “No one likes to associate with a group (Dems) that literally was crowing about the death of the GOP a few short months ago and now finds itself struggling for survival while avoiding yet another enforced political suicide act by their man in the WH.”

    While there were some who were crowing about the death of the GOP, that is hardly representative of the Democratic Party as a whole. Meanwhile, you are guilty of the same crowing you attribute to others. The fact of the matter is that, despite your wishful thinking, the Democratic Party isn’t going into any political wilderness. Neither major political party is going down that route anytime soon. But I do understand why the same person who would actually make a vile comparison between Democrats and al-Qaeda terrorists would hold the delusional hope that the Democrats will simply fade away.

  • balconesfault

    It is a losing game to try to smear an entire political party for the sins of a few of its members, as both major parties have plenty of members that engage in bad behavior.

    I really think that MI-GOPer believes that philandering by a Democrat is worse than philandering by a Republican … just because … well … because they have (D) next to their name.

    As I’ve noted before, he is more like a sports fan than anything else – it’s ok for people who are fellow fans of his team to criticize the players, but it always has to be stated that everyone on their team is better than anyone on the other team.

    And the fans of the other team, of course, suck.

  • Independent

    agentP rewrites some more history with: “While there were some who were crowing about the death of the GOP, that is hardly representative of the Democratic Party as a whole.”

    Does the House Speaker “represent” the Democrat Party, agentP?

    2-8-07: “This (jets for Pelosi’s family) is just a distraction launched by the Republicans. I get it. They’re mad their ideas have been rejected over and over by the American people. It’s like they’re brain-dead zombies going through the motions of keeping their Party alive.”

    Does the Sen Dem Maj Leader “represent” the Democrat Party, agentP?

    7-24-07 “Republicans are deserting this President (Bush) as fast as they can because 2008 is going to be all about the failed War in Iraq and the failed surge. If this doesn’t signal the death of the Republican Party, Senators and Representatives rushing away from their own Party leader and President, I don’t know what will for you.”

    Nawh, all that crowing was hardly representative of the Democrat Party, agentP.

  • CatherineF

    Crystal – you have to be kidding me. YOU should not be throwing stones on affairs – - knowing that a man is married (with 3 kids) and still dating him is WRONG. Maybe stay away from such topics you have NO right to discuss anyone’s sexual morals….