Since 1995, Tiger Woods has competed in the Masters. Normally, this isn’t news. However, for publicly humiliated and shamed Tiger Woods–he of the recorded phone messages, erratic driveway exits and high-profile sponsor exodus–choosing the Masters for his return to active playing is huge news.
It’s also dead nuts right for his career and future.
Tiger’s not a gifted speaker; many of us viewed his press conference as a car wreck. He comes across as arrogant; earning hundreds of millions dollars in your thirties can do that to you. And unless he has a stick in his hand, he’s not a particularly compelling personality.
But he is a virtuoso at the game of golf. No one else even comes close, as recent PGA ratings can attest. So no matter what the result, re-entering the public eye via his greatest strength beats any ongoing litany of apologies. denials or ridiculous claims of addiction. This is exactly what Tiger needs to do now. It is nothing short of ripping the bandages off the wound under the golf world’s most glaring spotlight, but it is also the smartest way to begin the long process of rebuilding his brand.
One corporate entity must be over the moon at this announcement; ComCast recently announced that the 2010 Masters will be the first major sporting event ever broadcast in 3-D. Tiger’s return will bring one new dimension to the game, even as Comcast brings another, all but guaranteeing massive television ratings.
At the same time, another entity must be furious; the three hundred notoriously uptight members of Augusta National will be loathe to host the media circus that will descend on the course they have carefully brand managed to legendary, even reverential status on the PGA Tour.
By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79