Oh Tiger, Tell Me It Ain’t So…

by Victor Cheng

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve probably noticed all the buzz around Tiger Wood’s many alleged indiscretions.

What has surprised me (but shouldn’t have) is how many people have been following this “train wreck is slow motion” story.

The more reporters dig, the more dirt they find… and apparently there seems to be an abundant supply of it.

I too have been following this story out of a morbid curiosity to watch a great American brand get destroyed.

In the early 1990’s, I was the photography editor for my college paper – The Stanford Daily. During that time, there was a student on campus who was supposed to be a pretty good golfer.

His name was Tiger Woods.

This was a few years before he became famous. I had a few chances to photograph him, but thought photographing golf would be too boring — so I handed out the assignment to other members of my staff.

I forget the exact timing of what happens next, but a year or two later I realized I probably should have taken that assignment myself.

In Tiger’s Junior or Senior year he decided to go “pro” and was eligible to take endorsement money. And in his first endorsement deal he got something like a $120 million deal from Nike or something crazy like that.

And with that a great American “squeaky clean” brand was born.

And more recently that brand has been getting demolished.

I think Tiger’s PR team is taking the wrong strategy. They have been trying to lay low hoping the whole thing will blow over… Ahem… I don’t think it’s working.

Now in our society infidelity is sadly nothing new. But what is new and shocking is infidelity tied to the guy with the cleanest image in sports.

People are not gawking a any old indiscretions, they’re gawking at Tiger’s indiscretions.

His fans are frankly quite disappointed in him… and I’m sure his family is that much more disappointed.

Personal time and space aside, I think laying low is the wrong approach. His fans trusted him and he has violated that trust.

Just like when a major company’s product has a major problem (Think: Tylenol in the ’80s), the right thing to do is be super pro-active about it, communicate about it frequent and often… until people are so bored by the updates they stop paying attention.

The hiding from the public has only caused enormous speculation and buzz. By staying so quiet, it looks like he’s hiding something… and I guess he actually IS hiding something.

So here’s my message to Tiger and to anyone else who screws up and disappoints customers. Come clean, get control of your own message, and set the record straight – no matter how ugly the record.

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