Ok, first off let me say that it’s my goal to post more stuff. No one reads this anyways, but I want to do it for me. I feel like it could be good for me to write more. Or not. We’ll see. On to the news of the day…
Oh Tiger. Tiger, Tiger, Tiger. Full disclosure time, I did NOT watch the “press conference” today. I didn’t see any reason to. I knew what he would say, and he said exactly that. Which is to say, he said nothing. He apologized. Shocking. Here’s my problem with it, he controlled the environment. That just won’t do it. The way he’ll beat all this is to show that he is actually human. Cry. Show fear over the thought of losing your family. Show remorse. But DO NOT stand in a room in the PGA headquarters surrounded by hand-picked friends and family members with no reporters and read a prepared statement. The guys on PTI (whom I love by the way) drank the Kool-Aid. Wilbon said he was moved and Kornheiser made the claim that we wouldn’t hear any more questions about this ever again. C’mon guys.
Let’s start with Wilbon. You’re better than that Mike. You know as well as I do that this was written by a team of P.R. guys. You need look no further than the fact that Tiger apologized to his business partners before his own wife and children. There was nothing moving in the statement. There was no genuine emotion. Do I think he’s sorry? Hell yes. Do I believe him when he says that he believed he could live by a different set of rules? Absolutely. But I still don’t believe he’s human. He’s the first wave of Terminators.
Oh and Tony? You KNOW damn good and well he’ll get asked about this again. You’re smarter than that.
So the obvious question that one would ask is “well smart guy what would you have had him do differently?” Glad you asked.
1. Have a REAL press conference. Face the firing squad. Answer the tough questions from reporters because you’ll have to eventually. They wrote their questions down and they’ll ask them at the first tournament you play in because all golfers are required to talk to the media then. Oh they’ll ask, and Tiger if you do your best Mark McGwire impression and tell them you don’t want to talk about the past, they’ll eat you alive. Get in front of it now. Own up to your mistakes like a man and show us that you’re really trying to be better. Think of what Kobe did. He sat there with his head down and answered every question. It paid off in the long run for him. There’s nothing wrong with sitting there and saying “I’m an idiot. I deserve every joke, every insult. I’ll do whatever it takes to make this better, but yes, I’m human and I’m a dumbass.”
2. Admit your faults. Don’t simply say you were wrong, explain why you did what you did. This is where I always thought Kobe messed up. Remember that Kobe Bryant took Brandy (who at the time was still REALLY famous) to his prom because he had just been drafted. From that moment on, the world belong to Kobe. Same for Tiger. He began getting ESPN attention in college. You think co-ed’s didn’t immediately line up for the attractive phenom? Of course they did. After he won his first tournament, he could have any woman he wanted, never had to wait in line, etc. Keep in mind, this all happened before he was 25 (I think). Wouldn’t that go to your head? I know it would’ve gone to mine. We always see it. Dozens of athletes who are living paycheck to paycheck because they can’t handle having money. Celebrities with major drug problems. Jay Leno’s car collection. For Tiger it was women. Probably would’ve been the same for me. I’m not saying playing the “too much, too soon” card fixes everything, but it does actually explain a lot.
3. Change the format of the speech. Now I realize he didn’t write it, but that’s kind of my whole point. Whoever set all this up, whoever his team is, are morons. The speech should have had apologies to his wife, children, and fans – in that order – first thing and last thing. They’re the most important, not your sponsors, not your business partners. After his family and fans, he should’ve (and he did do this, but it got buried) apologized for the harm he caused his charity. He needed to apologize to his deceased father, the man who made sure we knew who Tiger was before he won his first tournament. The man who Tiger had such a special relationship with. He needed to do that. He needed to show how hurt he was by Earl’s death. It’s totally plausible, and frankly I think this is part of it, that he lost his way when Earl died.
So, ok, he botched the first step, but it’s not completely out of reach yet. Admitting he’s going to continue therapy and find his center again with Buddhism were excellent admissions, and he absolutely should do that. His next step needs to be working on his family. I don’t know if Elin will stay, in fact I doubt she will, but Tiger has to let her make that decision on her own. Don’t try to pressure her, just let her think her way through it on her own. If he tries to pressure, as there have been reports he is, it makes him look like a control freak. And coming off that joke of a press conference, he can’t afford that right now. But do your work Tiger. Saying you’ll play golf again, but you don’t know when, was excellent. Stick to that. Give it time, let the healing process work, and when you’re ready in 3 months or so, go on Oprah. If (and that’s a HUGE if) she asks you the tough questions, answer as best you can. Don’t give cliche answers, don’t give rehearsed statements. Answer honestly even if the answer is “I don’t know.” After that, play. Actually, don’t just play. Win. Dominate. Be Tiger again. The best thing that happened to Kobe was him not getting traded after he publicly demanded one. Remember, at that time, he was almost the lost superstar. Brilliant on the court, but a total ass off of it. He was despised outside of L.A. But then the Lakers got smart and built a team around him, got the great Phil Jackson back, and won another title. Suddenly Kobe was the great teammate because winning fixes everything. He knew that by being back on the big stage, if he said and did the right things he would win the public back. Even if it was all an act, which I think it is, it didn’t matter. He did it right and Nike came back. His jersey went back to the top of the best sellers list. You see my point. But Tiger, learn from that. You’re all alone on a golf course so you can’t blame anyone if you don’t win. You can’t really embrace the bad guy image. Instead, put your head down and be brilliant again.
Oh, and fire your current P.R. team and hire me. I’ll take 15%.