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Tiger Woods’ six big PR mistakes


April 7, 2010

Tiger Woods’ press conference Monday at Augusta National was his best attempt yet at damage control, but it didn’t compensate for four months of blundering, Matthew Philips wrote in the “Human Condition” blog on the Newsweek Web site. In Philips’ opinion, Woods had committed six big PR mistakes:

  1. Deafening silence. The first rule in any crisis is to get out in front of the story early, but for four months, Tiger was mute — and the longer he went without speaking, the more people wanted to know why. Surely, not all of the gossip is true, but with nothing from Tiger, we’re left to assume it is.
     
  2. Refusal to meet with police. For two days police came to Tiger’s house to interview him, and he refused to let them in — smacking of preferential treatment and fueling speculation that something really shady was going on.
     
  3. Castigating the media. Before the scandal broke, Tiger owed his fortune as much to the media’s gushing, hands-off depiction of him as to his talents as a golfer, Philips wrote. And now Woods’ castigation of the media for prying into his private life reeks of hypocrisy.
     
  4. Refusing to provide details about what happened that night. Tiger maintains that whatever happened was a private matter, but if he doesn’t address it, people will keep assuming the worst.
     
  5. March 21 interviews with Golf Channel and ESPN. A month after his public apology on Feb. 19, Tiger gave two five-minute interviews to the Golf Channel and ESPN. Either the questions were restricted or those two reporters chose to ask the softest questions ever, Philips wrote. For Tiger’s scandal to reach any closure, he will have to be interviewed by a big-name reporter.
     
  6. He should’ve played in a tournament before the Masters. In Monday’s press conference, Tiger said he wasn’t ready to play before the Masters, but choosing the world’s most famous golf tournament for his return smacks of hubris, Philips wrote. This year’s Masters will be a media circus, and it’s unlikely that any of the other players are looking forward to the distraction. — Greg Beaubien


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