Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Tiger takes his eye off the ball

So the Eye of the Tiger is not what it used to be, or maybe his PR team have taken a week off. The handling of the "Drivergate" affair, when the world's top golfer went badly into the rough, has been atrocious in PR terms.

Whatever the reason for Tiger Woods' early morning drive into the trees (via a hydrant), the wall of silence that he and his advisors have put up is doing him immense harm. In the absence of information, a news vacuum appears, and we know what happens to a vacuum - something comes in to fill it. So speculation, rumour and innuendo become the story, rather than Tiger coming out with his hands up.

The less he says, the longer the story will run, as more and more "experts" offer their analysis of the events in Orlando. Not only that, his image, once pristine, is in danger of becoming seriously tarnished. He's already the golfer with the most fines for on-course swearing this year, and he's doing his reputation no favours right now.

The first rule of managing a crisis is to take control, and make yourself the main source of information. However, bad things are, they will be resolved, and even forgotten, quickest if you deliver the facts, and make any apologies that are necessary. The truth will always emerge eventually, so you might as well deliver it yourself, and as early as possible. It's never a crisis that does the real damage, it's any attempt to cover it up (ask any politician who has lied about a scandal).

It's time for Tiger to call the media and tell them exactly what happened. Unless and until he does, his reputation will suffer more and more damage.

1 comment:

Doc said...

This has been a total PR nightmare of ineptitude for Tiger.