Tiger Woods

By Eric Seidel, CEO
The Media Trainers®

John Edwards, David Letterman, Tiger Woods. Which one doesn’t belong? Yes, they all had extramarital affairs. But only Letterman broke the news himself and thereby took some control over the story.

Edwards tried to play hide-and-seek so long, in the end he looked incredibly foolish. Somehow he thought he could dodge the bullet.

In Woods’ case, he had both those incidents from which to learn and decided on the wrong lesson. He could’ve gotten ahead of this story on his terms, instead of being forced to respond on someone else’s.

A post-midnight one car crash into a tree and fire hydrant, inside an exclusive Florida gated community. The driver: Tiger Woods. Considering the late hour of the “accident” just outside his home, somehow, in your gut, you knew it was much more than it appeared.

And so it was. It took 6 days of intrigue, with the world watching and wondering, receiving at one point an ambiguous online statement.

Inevitably an information vacuum quickly developed, only to be filled by the physics of gossip, rumor, speculation and innuendo.

Finally, on the 6th day, after rumors of one affair with a New York woman, Us Magazine broke the news of a nearly three year affair with an L.A. cocktail waitress. Then, Tiger had no choice. He released a statement on his web site that was reported worldwide within minutes via media like ESPN’s all news channel (click on video).
He had been warned. Two days into the story, NBCSports.com blogger Michael Ventre encouraged Woods to speak up.

Communication professionals could see clearly what was at stake by remaining silent. One in particular, edit30, Insight for Business Communicators, recognized Woods for what he’s become, a brand. And brands live, or die, on perceptions. Communicators understand how news and information are spread today, both in terms of speed and validity. And they learn from the mistakes of others’ past experiences. Unfortunately, their advice is too often ignored, if even solicited.

Known for his uncanny ability to focus and concentrate, just how might this story and the way it was allowed to unravel become an ongoing distraction for Tiger Woods? Or, have we been following this amazing athlete unaware of his superior ability to compartmentalize?

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