Although I understand there is curiosity, the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible. Tiger Woods, November 29, 2009The stories circulating weren't so much irresponsible as they were TRUE.
Tiger was trying to use his reputation or "Tigerness" to shame people so that they would feel bad and prevent embarrassing news from coming out. It worked about as well for Tiger as it would for anyone else. As I said in my first post about his problems, the truth will come out.
batten down the hatches. But there is a huge difference between securing for heavy seas and hiding below deck to let the sea take you whichever way the winds blow. Navigating in a storm takes active engagement. My friends who have stood a bridge watch in heavy seas will enjoy the understatement.
So what did Tiger do right? He (or his people) maintained the comment function on Tiger's Website. As I write this, there are 19,602 comments on the site; many positive, some fiercely negative. This is important because in our participatory age, we all want to be part of a big story; especially one about a celebrity. Tiger gave that opportunity to people. After eight days of horrible PR mistakes, this is one thing Tiger got right.
Besides the fact that the truth will come out, I said that there were two factors that would keep this story alive. People will talk. And, lord have they ever. The Web is alive with the tales Tiger's mistresses. Whether they actually were one of Tiger's mistresses we don't really know. The last thing is that the media will not stop covering this until everything comes out. The problem with Tiger’s strategy is that the people talking now have more credibility than he does. After all, he’s already been caught in a lie.
Tiger's PR crisis is as ordinary as his sin. Those that don't get out in front of the story find themselves at the mercy of the people who do.
Photo Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeff McDowell/Released