March 18, 2010
How can you not love the title ofÂ Jason Gayâs piece in this weekâs Wall Street Journal on Tiger Woodsâs decision to return to golf at the coming Masters next month: âThe Couch â April Just Got Weirder.â No kidding. Not only did the WSJ pick up this story, above the fold no less, but alsoÂ USA Today and theÂ New York Times covered it extensively. Their stories were not so much on his decision, but the brilliance of choosing the Masters venue because the tournament organizers are âmastersâ at keeping people out: loud fans, people of color, oh, and did I mention women. So it is perfect! He can enter the world of golf on his on terms,Â tightly controlled and continue down his clueless path when it comes to the discipline of public relations.Â Wouldnât you love to be his partner for that first round, or the advertisers that booked their spots before Woods decided to enter the tournament? Imagine the deals they reaped for 30- and 60-second spots.
Here are a few choice tidbits from Gay:
On his reasoning why now: ââThe Masters is where I won my first major and I view this tournament with great respect,â Mr. Woods said in an emailed statement surely crafted by 37 handlers, 14 lawyers, nine spiritual gurus, six Navy SEALs, three focus groups and at least one bomb-sniffing dog. âAfter a long and necessary time away from the game, I feel like Iâm ready to start my season at Augusta.â
âBut Seriously:Â Get ready. Even before Mr. Woods decided to do some 2 a.m. vehicular tree-trimming, some golf fans used to groan when he overshadowed the sport. We always found this grievance a little funnyâwhat did people want, a Lucas Glover Channel?âbut even when he didnât play well, Tigerâs TV time often eclipsed the shine given to golfâs khaki-wearing mortals.â
âAnd now? Now itâs just going to be ridiculous. The other day, Sports Illustrated quoted Sean McManus, president of CBS News and CBS Sports, as saying Mr. Woodsâs return would be the âbiggest media event other than the Obama inauguration in the past 10 or 15 years.â As a CBS viewer, we found this quote disappointing, as Mr. McManus overlooked Craig Kilbornâs farewell to âThe Late Late Show.
âBut the message is clear. Tigermania isnât going to calm soon. One reason Mr. Woods is playing the Masters is because staid Augustaânot exactly Lenny Kravitzâs New Yearâs Eve Partyâcan offer him a tranquil reentry. But that spiffy Masters championâs jacket only comes in green, not invisible. Sorry, Tiger. Itâs going to be a deeply weird spring.â
Maybe he isnât as clueless about PR as we thought? Weâll see.