Disgraced golfing superstar and trouser-snake extraordinaire Tiger Woods will come out of a self-imposed three-month exile at 11am US eastern time on Friday (that’s about 3am Saturday here) and address a carefully selected media ensemble at the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse in Florida.
According to an email sent to Bloomberg by Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg, “Tiger plans to discuss his past and his future and he plans to apologise for his behavior.”
And, predictably, the media have gone nuts.
First, the timing of his announcement has drawn criticism from among the world’s top golfers. You see, when Tiger holds his press conference it will be the third round of the Accenture Match Play Championship (which Woods has won three times) and it seems the coincidence has been lost on no one that Accenture, which sponsors the event, was also Woods’ first sponsor who dropped him in the wake of his sex scandals.
And golfers such as former world No.1 Ernie Els isn’t happy.
Els told Golf Week that:
It’s selfish. You can write that. I feel sorry for the sponsor. Mondays are a good day to make statements, not Friday. This takes a lot away from the golf tournament.
And the controlled nature of Woods’ press conference has also drawn the ire of the media.
Golf Week‘s Jeff Rude writes:
It is not known whether his statement will satisfactorily address key questions some might have — questions we may never get to ask — but I’ll bet everyone’s farm it won’t.
Word is the three pool reporters — yes, laughably, only three — will include a pgatour.com freelancer. Perception isn’t reality. But perception here isn’t pretty.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post had Dan Leinweber, president of Leinweber Associates, a public relations firm, hold a Q&A on its website about Woods’ press conference.
One Post reader asked:
… why didn’t Tiger just post a video on his website with his statement? By doing the control freak thing, he comes off as somebody playing the media
Leinweber’s response was:
You are indeed correct — “his” press conference is about being in control. However, this should not be a one-way dialogue — the public won’t buy it and it won’t end continued speculation.
And in the New York Times, Richard Sandomir wrote:
Just as trying to use a short, scripted statement is not likely to serve Woods well, a news conference would be a risky step. It would create the sort of unruly encounter he cannot control.
… Woods has rarely faced a contentious press or one eager to mine his personal life. He is always in control of what he says. But controlling a seamy story is like wrangling eels.
But the most scathing example of the PR disaster Woods faces comes in the form of the humble tabloid.
Today’s New York Post and New York Daily News front covers are a classic example of how to sell papers. Celebrity, sex, shame:
Woods is on a hiding to nothing — he can control a press conference — but he can’t control the news.