Feb 19 2010
Eventually, it had to happen. Tiger Woods had to speak in “public” about his, uh, situation.
But, did official golfdom have to provide the venue?
Enough has been said about Tiger to fill several PR crisis communications classes, and the true, sad fact of this matter is that too many of us still care too much about his plight. The most troubling aspect of the whole deal, aside from the obvious family matter, is that his catting about has cost golf, the game, a great deal. And, the money contributed by the tour to worthy causes, estimated at over $100 million by CNN, will similarly diminish, taking many recipients into this messy wake, as well. Oh, and this doesn’t even count the multitudes of ticket scalpers and corporate hospitality providers who have suffered a recession on top of the recession.
The reward for this family-professional golf-charitable cause demolition derby? The PGA invites him over for what Jeff Shain of the Los Angeles Times writes today is probably one of the most highly anticipated mea culpas since President Bill Clinton’s.
This is a bad PR move for the PGA. Even if, as TMZ reported, the association’s leader made a bit of a blunder in commenting on Woods’ rehab circumstances, that little slip should NOT have caused him to feel obligated to agree to this show/apology.
It’s understandable that the PGA is a bit nervous about their sugar daddy staying away from the game any longer, and the, well, commerce of the thing just may have figured a little bit into this decision to host the first of Tiger’s public amends. But, the public relations value to Tiger of delivering this monologue at TPC-Sawgrass has to be balanced against the lack of any real rationale (except commercial) to allow it to happen in one of the homes of professional golf.
The better solution would have been to welcome Tiger back with open arms after the apology. The apology could have been staged in a major arena or in a rehab center closet and still would have received worldwide coverage, questions allowed or not. The crisis for Tiger Woods is not the PGA’s crisis, even though his economic impact on the game is significant. And, if the public statement backfires, as James Moore suggests in his Tiger Woods’ Dumb Advisers commentary in The Huffington Post, then the PGA and Tiger both lose.
Without Tiger, there is still the game, and I can only wonder if the Royal and Ancient at St. Andrews would have hosted such an affair from their vantage point of over 100 years of governing the game. I hope not.