December 1st, 2009
03:48 PM ET

Teeing off on Tiger

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"A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors." So said John F. Kennedy. Has there been, in recent times, an American public figure more universally honored and admired than Tiger Woods?

I think like Michael Jordan before him, he is revered because he's seemingly perfect. And Americans want to be perfect. "If I have the perfect job, the perfect spouse, fame and acclaim, six-pack abs or an incredible bust – then I'll be happy." So along come Tiger and Michael as examples that yes, by God, perfection is possible. If we can't have it for ourselves, then at least we can have it vicariously through them. We so badly want it to be true.

Well, if the tabloid rumors are to be believed, Tiger has been knocked off that God-like pedestal we put him on. There are whispers of infidelity, and of course the celebrated car accident.

There will be those who are let down and disappointed, but I suspect more than a few will say, "Oh what a relief. He's human like the rest of us. He's having marital troubles like a lot of us. His foibles make him more interesting, more relatable."

Others will wonder why he might have cheated on his hot Scandinavian wife and the mother of his children. Is the male libido that relentless and unquenchable? Does being a famous man amp up that "perpetuate the species" sex drive woven into our male DNA to the nth degree? Perhaps the answer is yes.

But the question for Tiger is how to deal with this scandal. My old college professor, and later a colleague at CNN, Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider, taught me there are two ways to handle a public relations crisis. He was speaking of politicians, but it really applies to anyone who's famous and gets into trouble.

The first approach is the stonewall. You simply deprive the media firestorm of the oxygen it needs to keep raging. The press needs raw materials to tell a story: fresh video, soundbites, and a continuous flow of information. So you go into hiding. You take away their tools. Shut off the flow of information. Sun yourself on Napili Beach, knock back a few mai tais, and wait for the storm to pass. After all, it won't be long 'til another celebrity gets into trouble and the press – and the American people – with their short attention spans will be engrossed with that poor schlub's pecadillos. It seems so far that it's in Tiger's privacy-seeking character to go that route, and it looks like he already has. I can't speak to the mai tais, of course...

Then there's the second approach, what I call the "blow the ending" strategy. The press loves to drip, drip, drip out facts that lead to a spectacularly dramatic ending (see Watergate). So what you do is you get the worst information out first. You own up to the worst possible thing so the press can't build a narrative that leads to an entertaining conclusion. You blow the ending. Colonel Mustard did it in the parlor with a candlestick. I slept with a hooker. I traded arms for hostages. The end. It nips everything in the bud. Unforunately for some stars, what makes good public relations sense doesn't always make good legal sense and they're forced to stonewall.

What do you think Tiger should do? And are you disappointed in him?

soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Jack

    Tiger has to answer to his wife and to no one else.
    I am not fascinated with the recent revelations nor was I entralled over Bill Clinton's "transgressions". People are people. Some get away with their personal sins, others don't. Life moves on. So should all the thrill seekers. Let it go! Mind you own business.

    Does the life of Tiger Woods improve or diminish your quality of life? If the answers are no then, let Tiger go and move on to improving your life.

    December 4, 2009 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Hope

    Elin should have taken the golf club to Tiger after she pulled him out of the SUV.

    So you think by Tiger having a few affairs makes him human? He was a human the day he was born. Now he's just a "joe-shmoe". But he is "Tiger Woods" so his having affairs with those floozies makes it alright. What a joke! He's a married man! When the wedding was taking place, were there vows involved in the ceremony or just a lawyer siting the pre-nup agreement? Come on, Tiger. Elin didn't marry you for your money. She married you for love. All those other bimbo's you were playing around with want your fame and money. That's all they care about because if they cared about you and your family, they would have kept their mouth's shut and none of this would have ever happened! Elin has stood by your side and has given you two beautiful children. And that doesn't make you a happy man? You are a fool, Tiger and if you are a smart man, you would be begging for forgiveness. You can't throw money at everything and expect it to just go away or fix a problem. Only you can do that as a person and prove yourself as a loyal husband and father. I can only imagine how Elin feels right now or how she is going to feel in the future. Will she ever be able to forgive him?

    December 4, 2009 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  3. Tired of it

    I am really tired of seeing every news station and ESPN covering Tiger Woods and his girlfriend. Actually, I'm tired of seeing her! She is getting way too much attention and loving it! I watched one of the celeb shows last night and you could tell she was so excited about being in the limelight. I'm sure she is getting plenty of offers and money thrown at her for interviews, etc. Next thing you know she will be modeling for Playboy! This would not have happen if she hadn't purposely gotten involved with Tiger–can't tell me that she didn't know what she was doing! I feel sorry for Elin and the kids. She way better looking than the bimbo and seems be handling pretty well (even if she did take a golf club to Tiger!). I think Tiger has given the game of golf a shot in the arm–we probably wouldn't watch it as much if he were not playing. Hopefully, this story goes away soon and Tiger and his family can get back to some normalcy. I guess the money train for the bimbo will continue as long as there is a story. After that I think she will be SOL.

    December 4, 2009 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  4. Paul

    Another reason why I think our society is going into the crapper...lack or morals on many levels. I have been married for 29 years to the same lovely lady and I would never think about cheating on her. He has lost my respect and I will never watch golf again. Enough said.

    December 4, 2009 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  5. chris lottsfeldt

    This.." he's just human " garbage is a red herring. Somewhere between perfection and being a compulsive adulterer there's still plenty of room to be human.
    In Tigers case the curiosity is this. This a man who is pathologically guarded , is compulsive about never making mis-steps, he never says anything controversial, is wrapped very tight and brilliant at establishing an image of integrity that has made the first billion dollar athlete in history. He'll fire or sue ANYONE who breaches any confidentiality or liables him in any way shape or form. Just ask Fluff Cowen. YET.....he screws around in this fashion this degree, this recklessly and ....LEAVES A VOICE MAIL ON HIS PUBLICITY HOUND MISTRESS' CELL PHONE. This would be like Sir Edmund Hillary getting stuck in a snow storm and freezing because he forgot his long underwear. It's the epitome of irony and mind boggling stupidity from a man who has obsessivly been the diametric opposite.

    December 4, 2009 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
  6. geri

    He should have just faced the pain from the onset and dealt with it! Why does Tiger deserve privacy whe he chose the world of living in a fish bowl? Face it, deal with it and get on with it, but no, he CHOSE to hide behind "his people" and he must now deal with it. No matter what you do in life, own it!

    December 4, 2009 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
  7. geri

    He should have just faced the pain from the onset and dealt with it! Why does Tiger deserve privacy whe he chose this world? Face it, deal with it and get on with it, but no, he CHOSE

    December 4, 2009 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. A former fan

    Why does everyone keep saying that this is PERSONAL and should just be between him and his family (who I feel sorry for)??? What about all the public stockholders in the businesses who have paid Tiger big bucks to promote their products? He had morals clauses in those contracts, and he clearly did NOT hold up his end of a BUSINESS agreement. The marketing programs of those companies just took a huge blow, and that impacts every stockholder. I sure hope they all file for breach of contract and get their money back...Tiger certainly doesn't deserve it.

    December 3, 2009 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Michele

    This is not our business. Who cares?

    December 3, 2009 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Teri

    Everything happens for a reason. Obviously, his personal life needs to put in order. Leave the man alone. If it happened to the every day Joe, this would be no big deal. Because he is a celebrity, the press seems to think we need to know everything. We don't... Good luck, Tiger.

    December 3, 2009 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. brad

    Will Tiger ever do another interview??

    His fortress has been permanently breached and no amount of money will keep the media wolves at bay now.

    There are few pro athletes out there who have handled the scrutiny and avoided scandal.....Jeter and Ripken come to mind.......I can't really compare the old timers since they didn't face the gauntlet of information technology available today.

    December 3, 2009 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. AMy

    Can you really get something more pretty than a supermodel? I don't know what happened, but I know I don't want to hear excuses.

    December 3, 2009 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Uncle

    Well, first off Non-one is perfect. While we are trying to find out more in more about what happen the night of teh accident or simply who are these women. The questions or concerns towards the women have not answered and or made out to be world news.

    What is so self-rightious about these women all of sudden now want to blow the whitsle? It seems they rather put themself out there stating " Yea I had a fling " with Tiger and get paid than keeping the self pride and dignity. Being a Lady. They were not thinking about there pride or dignity in the begning? Did they care that he was married? NO! Did they care how much it would hurt the Woods family? NO! It takes to to tangle. For some for a day, month, year they choose to tangle, knowing the outcome that he was not leaving his wife for them. It was simply an oppurtunity to be with a Mega Star and they jumped on it knowing that someday they could cash in on it in someway, fashion, or form. Saving text messages? Voicemails? Did you do that with all of you past boyfriends? Probably not.

    I hope that Tiger has learned his lesson. I hope and pray that his family can reunite and truely live out the Vows that they swore to under oath. I pray that the Woods family can move forward. I hope the women who have come forth came take the finger back at themself and regather there self-respect as person, as a women, as a Lady. They too now have become a star in the on right. Let see who will be gunning for them now that they are famous. I truley hope they too can find peace and move forward.

    December 3, 2009 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. penneyx3

    This is a private matter, everyone jumping on the bandwagon is doing far worse to this family than Tiger did. Tiger was foolish and ultimately hurtful, I am assuming by way of human frailty. The public and the media that feeds it is enjoying the pain and agony this family is going through, trying at every turn to fan the flames. Truly an example of our collective conscience run amuck with jealousy, emotional rubber necking and holier than thou Monday morning quarterbacking.
    Shame on us..... prayers for the Woods family that they love each other more than they hate each others mistakes.

    December 3, 2009 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ironic

    i love how some people are saying it is personal and private and no business of ours yet they clicked on the link, read the article and were just as nosey as the rest of us.

    December 3, 2009 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Chrissy

    Are you people definding Tiger Kidding ME?
    To cheat one time or a million is unforgivable. Would you like someone to do that to you? Ruin all of the love and trust and everything you built as a couple and a family. Rich or Poor till death do us part – cheating is bad if you are the richest or poorest person and it just goes to show that you are no longer intrested in the person that you were with. There is no such thing as an accidental cheatting. Men and woman just do not fall into bed nake on accident, and even if they did it would not result in sex unless the adults consented in that horrible action. Everyone should be hating on him. I am!

    December 3, 2009 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Cathy in AZ

    This is a private matter which has been made public due to the tabloid media. Mr. Woods was not required by law to talk to the police. This was an accident no matter what caused the accident.
    The woman who sold her story and released the tapes is as guilty of bad behavior as is Mr. Woods. I am of the opinion she kept the text messages and voice mails in order to one day due exactly what she did – SCORE A BIG PAY DAY. She also did not take into consideration how this would affect Elin Woods and their children.
    This is NO ONES BUSINESS BUT Tiger Woods and his family – the rest of us can just stay out!

    December 3, 2009 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Emme Silverman

    Having suffered through the same humiliation that Elin is going through I hope she has the support she needs from her family and friends. If Elin feels it necessary to say anything at all publicly she should not say she forgives him. That would be premature. Tiger will have to earn that forgiveness. She should say that she and Tiger wish to build a healthy relationship and that she'd appreciate the privacy to do this.
    If Tiger wishes to recover his family he must show he is contrite and repent. He must do this over and over and over again for Elin to believe he is sincere. It may take years for her believe he really means what he says. In order to rebuild trust he will have to completely change the way he lives his life. He will have to demonstrate that he has learned what is needed to be a good husband and a loving, involved father. He will need help to do this he clearly didn't learn from his past life.
    My wish for them is to value the children enough to work out their lives together.

    December 3, 2009 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Mimi

    No matter how famous or in the public you are some things are NOT the business of the public. And the women coming forward, what a display of ........ well, they are classless women who were willing to do anything to be w/ a celebrity. Congratulations you now have 15 minutes of fames by being a slut. Whatever happened to the days when you would be ASHAMED to admit that you had an affair with a married man???????? And by the way, sad sad sad on Tigers part - see money does buy everything including TROUBLE.

    December 3, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Diana

    Tiger made a mistake like any other HUMAN. He is a private person and it should remain that way. And all these women coming out saying that they had an affair....I believe some of them are just looking for Money and FAME! Look at me I'm so improtant because I know Tiger Woods....big deal.....get over it! I think we should support him and respect his privacy in this matter. Why is this topic so important? He is not the first to make a mistake and he won't be the last. Why do we put people who are in the media on these levels of that they cannot do something wrong? That they cannot make a mistake? They are not perfect! Why do we make them that way? Leave the guy alone....stop talking about this and dragging it through the mud so to speak. I think the media is getting their jolly's on this.....its not Paris or Britney.....we have a new attack now!!! And that is what it is an Attack...are the people in the media perfect? I'm sure they have a few things to hide too....

    December 3, 2009 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  21. karla

    WHY WHY WHY is Tiger Woods and his wifes personal business any business of ours????? IT IS NOT..... There are few of us that are perfect, therefore what right do we have to judge.
    I would say throughout his career, he has carried himself with dignity and his personal issues are just that HIS AND HIS FAMILIES....
    WE THE PUBLIC make celebrities ROLE MODELS, they are human, they laugh, cry, hurt, make mistakes just like the rest of us.
    My daughter wrecked my car a few weeks ago after fighting with her boyfriend and it didnt make CNN. Im saddened by the pressure and responsibility we put on people, in general........
    This is a small, personal matter and it should be left for he and his wife to handle in the way they fill fit. How hard would it be to be happy with constant magnifying glasses on us????

    December 3, 2009 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  22. jc

    Somewhere, Phil Mickelson and most of the other pga tour players are laughing their rear ends off.

    December 3, 2009 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
  23. Jane

    I'm disappointed, of course. He took a VOW but blew it off when his wife was pregnant and kept blowing it off. His character was not at all what we thought. But, I feel his response regarding the media was the best approach. He has admitted in writing that he has transgressed and asked for privacy. While this may not be textbook perfect response based on public relations strategy, he owes it to Elin and the kids to own up and then shut up and focus on the family.

    If Tiger needs to quit golf, except to finish out any existing contracts, he should do it to save his marriage. Start a golf camp where he's home every single night on time and in person. Answer the phone every time Elin calls. Give her his schedule every day and be accountable for it. Do what it takes to save your marriage, Tiger. Golf and money are not worth it. You have enough that you never need to work again to live like a king and bring your children up comfortably. Be a good example by giving up travelling and being completely there for Elin from this day until the day you die. In doing that, you can use this mess you created to be a good example for what to do to save your marriage after such a mess.

    December 2, 2009 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Debra R

    If tiger had just worked with the police instead of thinking he is above the rest of us thei would have never happened. I could care less what is going on in his personal life, however the career he chose as a professional golfer is a life spent in the public eye. Stonewalling is stupid as it only makes him look guilty. I like the Sandra Bullock approach, she basically makes herself available, makes a statement and it's over.

    December 2, 2009 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  25. Steve in PA

    The problem didn't start with the accident. It started when he refused to talk to police. In any accident, you talk to the police and explain what happened. He didn't do that, which led to the current situation he is in now. I know, when I had my accident, when a girl pulled out on me, failing to stop at a stop sign, I told what happened to the police. It is what you are supposed to do. This would have all blown over by now if he would have explained what happened. "I'm sorry, I got into a fight with my wife and I left in anger in the middle of the night and hit the fire hydrent. I wasn't thinking straight and I ask that everyone leave this private matter to my wife and me." End of story and the whole thing goes away. Everyone gets angry, no matter how famous you are. It's a fact of life. Look at all the celeb's that have gotten into accidents. Yes, they talk about it on the news for a day or 2, then it's gone, because there's something more interesting to cover.

    However... Now, by him doing what he is doing, it looks like he has something to hide. Could it be that he is having an affair with this other woman and his wife found out that started the fight? The tabloids are painting that kind of picture, because he left them with nothing. This is going to continue and will not go away because he left everyone with too many questions and no answers.

    December 1, 2009 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  26. A. Hobson

    My hat's off to Tiger. This is an unfortunate occurance and is, in his own words, embarrassing for him and his family but anything else is no ones business but his. Too bad he suffered some injuries but they appear to be minor and noo ne else was hurt and by law he does not have to account to the authorities and certainly is under no obligation to explain to the public. So therefore I say maintain the stonewall approach and soon "they" will get tired and go away to find someone else to bother.
    If there are domestic problems and I emphasize "if", I sincerely hope they can be resolved out of the public spotlight.
    You go Tiger!

    December 1, 2009 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  27. db

    Tiger is a private person and we all know that. So he should continue with the stonewall approach....and no I'm not disappointed in him. We are all human. Unfortunately, the media loves to quess and surmise what happened and blow things out of porportion. Flat out, it's none of our business. Now go and find someone else to malign.

    December 1, 2009 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |

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