After nearly 3 months of silence Tiger Woods finally addressed the world today, well sort of, in his own unique way. Here our analysis of his performance from a PR perspective:
Message / Delivery
Tiger’s choices of words were strong and effective. He took direct responsibility for his actions saying, “I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did is not acceptable. And I am the only person to blame.” This was an improvement from the broad acknowledgement of “transgressions” in his original website statement and was more direct than what others coming forward have said in similar situations.
He acknowledged that he felt “entitled.” He apologized to every key constituency he needed to – his wife, family, the public, his friends and business partners and did a fine job addressing false rumors about domestic abuse allegations and admirably defended Elin.
His best apology went to the parents who propped him up as a role model for their kids.
He showed his priorities were in order by not giving an exact date to a return to golf. It would have been less believable if he said he’d be back in a month for the Masters.
Tiger was exceptionally well prepared to deliver this message. You’ll notice that he made direct eye contact to those in the audience and those watching at most critical points of his speech:
- I want to say to each of you, simply, and directly, I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in.
- When speaking about coming to terms with his actions with his wife: “what we say to each other will remain between the two of us.”
- “I have let down my fans”
- “For all that I have done (pause) I am so sorry”
He looked contrite with watery eyes and occasional pauses.
Setting & Production
With two camera feeds, no press or questions it was clear that this was going to be a controlled event. But even for Tiger, this was over-handled.
The entire setting can be captured in one word – uncomfortable. It was uncomfortable looking at the people in that room and it was clear that not one person in that room wanted to be there. The podium and blue curtain seemed odd as well.
And if you are going to package an event and restrict media access you CANNOT LOSE THE FEED ON CAMERA #1. Tiger likely practiced the speech 100 times and was trained to look directly into the camera at key moments – and we missed many of them – like when he demanded the paparazzi to leave his wife and kids alone. There is simply no excuse for losing that feed – the high school AV Club could have got that right.
The embraces at the end seemed even more uncomfortable and although that would normally be lumped into his delivery, we give him a mulligan on that one and blame it on his handlers.
Grade: F (handlers)
Overall he gets a C+.
America wants to start rooting for Tiger again. Time will tell if he’ll ever “Be like Mike.” The only place to go from here is up.