Sunday 21 February 2010

Wooden apology from Tiger!

Tiger Woods made his televised public apology on Friday, appearing like some naughty school boy attending the headmasters office to admit his bad behaviour, and to tell the world he was trying to learn from his mistakes and become a better person.

Watch Tiger's speech below.

I found the whole thing bizarre! Only in America would you get this type of public confessional, mixed in with a presidential style address to the nation speech.

I thought 'You're just someone who plays golf who's had some affairs!' Is this all necessary?

On Friday evening both the BBC 6:00 news and ITN early evening news lead with the Tiger Woods story. I Half expected this from ITV, but was this really the biggest news story of he day?

At 7:00 I turned over to Channel 4 News. You can always rely on Channel 4 news for some serious heavy weight news coverage! But no, even they had Tiger Woods as their main feature! What was going on?

What this public apology demonstrated for me, is that Woods is someone who has to be totally in control of everything he does. I'm sure that the media scrutiny he's faced over the last few months has been terrible for him as he's not been able to control the agenda. Friday's event was partly about regaining that power, but I'm not sure how well he succeeded.

This is someone who along with his golfing success has ruthlessly built up a global brand and image over the years that's made him the richest sports star in the world, but all of that has essentially collapsed in a matter of weeks.

What I don't understand is why have this public apology when the only people in attendance were his family and friends. He could have apologised to these people individually and in private.

Instead it would have been better if he'd just called a more conventional press conference and spoke directly to the media, and expressed his remorse for his actions, and answered questions from journalists.

This was unlikely as Woods seems to dislike the media. For what reason I don't know. I'm not aware of any previous hostile media coverage.

He seemed to lose his composure a little when he spoke about his wife and the speculation that she may have attacked him on the night he crashed his car outside the family home. He insinuated that the media were attacking her and that she was blameless in all of this.

The media never attacked his wife, and if he didn't like the intrusion into their private lives he shouldn't have been having these affairs in the first place. It's all a result of his own actions. Anyway he's going back in counselling to help with his so called 'sex addiction'. When will people realise sex addiction doesn't even exist!

I'm not doubting any of his sincerity, as I'm sure he's deeply sorry for his actions, (he said it enough times if you didn't get the message) but everything about Friday's events was so stage managed. It ended up feeling wooden and soulless, without any real authenticity.

I can imagine various counsellors and advisers telling him this is what needs to be said; this is how it should be said, how many times to say sorry, when to pause for dramatic effect during his speech. Where was the spontaneity? There wasn't any?

This is why Woods will never really appeal to me as a sports star. Everything about him is about building and managing his brand. I read in some reports that he spoke about how he's a Buddhist and wants to reconnect with many of the Buddhist teachings he grew up with.

I never even knew he was a Buddhist, but you cynically wonder to yourself whether perhaps his Buddhism was previously kept quiet, that it probably didn't fit in with the brand image, it might alienate potential fans and sponsors. It wouldn't surprise me if that was the case.

So will the public apology rebuild his brand image or his marriage? From what I've been reading his marriage may be over, as for the brand, he needs to get back onto the golf course sooner rather than later so that he can remind the world why he's such a celebrity and eventually his golfing exploits will take precedence again over this private life.

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