Bagger Vance: “I always felt a man’s grip on his club just like a man’s grip on his world…”
Yep… Inside each and every one of us is one true authentic swing… Somethin’ we was born with… Somethin’ that’s ours and ours alone… Somethin’ that can’t be taught to ya or learned… Somethin’ that got to be remembered… Over time, the world can rob us of that swing… It gets buried inside us under all our wouldas and couldas and shouldas… Some folk even forget what their swing was like…”
The Legend of Bagger Vance
Tiger Woods might want to rent the movie, The Legend of Bagger Vance. He could learn a lot.
His attempt at a PR comeback is failing just like his golf game because it lacks authenticity. He hasn’t found his authentic swing. That’s why he’s coming across as a fraud.
Check your Outlook Calendar, because this week marks the anniversary of the infamous car accident that put Tiger Woods’ addicted-to-sex-life and failed marriage on public display.
Woods’ pre-emptive PR strike
Last week, Woods suddenly appeared out of nowhere in a typical control-freak-managed article that he, or rather his handlers, wrote for Newsweek called “How I’ve Redefined Victory.” I wonder how many Team Tiger revisions that went through before it was approved and submitted “on spec” to one of the Newsweek editors who automatically approved it.
“I have a lasting gratitude to those who stood by me in ways large and small,” said Woods in Newsweek. “Unfortunately, opportunists are trying still to cash in on my troubles, no matter how irresponsible or ridiculous their claims may be. In many cases, I’ve never even met these people. But there’s no way I can dispute each lie without provoking more. Besides, everyone has probably heard more than they ever wanted to about my private life.”
There is a method to Woods’ madness — he’s trying to deliver a pre-emptive strike to all the ex-girlfriends-turned-authors that will be coming out of the woodwork this week on TV shows and in the tabloids. That’ll mean two weeks of Tiger Woods’ sex life as we try not to regurgitate the Thanksgiving dinner we just ate. Please pass the cranberry sauce.
Woods also discovered Twitter four years after it was created. I’m sure he was busy. He just joined the cozy family of 175 million users:
- Nov. 17: “Yep, it’s me. I think I like this twitter thing. You guys are awesome. Thanks for all the love.”
- Nov. 18: “The best part about phone interviews is getting to wear shorts.”
That last tweet was in reference to Woods’ live and oh-so-boring phone interview with ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning.
Woods is trying to bare his Kevlar-protected soul
Make no mistake. The reason Woods’ is trying to bare his Kevlar-protected soul is not to “reconnect with my fans” as he told ESPN Radio, but to replace the money he lost from his $100-plus million divorce settlement, the sponsors who bailed on him and his poor play in tournaments. It’s all calculated stagecraft.
According to Golf Digest, Woods was the top moneymaker in professional golf in 2009. That’s when he made $21,015,196 in on-course earnings and $100,900,000 in off-course earnings.
This year, not so much. For the first time in his career, Woods completed the 2010 golf season without a win. He finished in fourth place at the 2010 Australian Masters, his last tournament of the year, and tied for fourth in the Masters in Augusta and at the U.S. Open. He finished this season as the No. 2 golfer in the world, but No. 64 on the PGA money list, earning $1,294,764.80 for 12 PGA events.
Woods’ off-course earnings have really taken a hit. Sponsors such as Accenture, AT&T, Gatorade and Gillette dropped him because the family man golfer became radioactive as a result of his serial cheating.
Woods is as influential as Barry Bonds and Mel Gibson
“No athlete has dropped so far, so fast in likability, trustworthiness and appeal,” said Rick Horrow, a sports lecturer at Harvard Law School.
In the latest Davie Brown Index, used by corporate clients to determine a celebrity’s ability to influence consumers, Woods’ appeal ranked 2,586th, down from 96th before the sex scandal. That puts him in the same company as Barry Bonds and Mel Gibson.
Woods said earlier this month that he was in discussion with several Chinese companies for endorsement deals. Interesting approach. Michael Jackson kicked off an Asian tour in 2006 after winning his 2005 case where he faced child molestation charges. But it took Jackson’s death last year for people to finally remember his great music and not his strange behavior, like sleeping with kids.
“Tiger’s still a draw when he plays, but frankly until he starts winning again he’s just another golfer,” said Neal Pilson, former president of CBS Sports and now head of his own sports consulting firm. “I don’t think there’s much mileage in Tiger Woods anymore finishing 12 strokes off the pace.”
Note to Tiger: find your authentic swing in your life and on the golf course and start winning if you want the American public and American companies to like you again.