What Can Tiger Say to Diffuse the Crisis?

Tiger takes center stage tomorrow to publicly share his mea culpa.

Every pundit and his brother has weighed in with a view. The local NBC affiliate was in our office today to interview our crisis guru John Radewagen.

So I’ll keep my view brief.

The statement on Tiger’s Web site doesn’t lead me to believe that tomorrow will have a happy ending:

Tiger Woods will be speaking to a small group of friends, colleagues and close associates at 11:00 a.m. EST on Friday at the TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Tiger plans to discuss his past and his future, and he plans to apologize for his behavior.

It sounds like he’s hanging out with the guys over beers.

I also think it’s the wrong move to not field questions after he speaks.

Yes, I understand as articulated on his Web site that “Tiger feels that what happened is fundamentally a matter between him and his wife.” By not fielding questions he hopes to control the tawdry side of this ”little” crisis.

His quandary is that the more he strives to control tomorrow, the less likely he’s going to come across as sincere and truly apologetic.

Because a Q&A session forces Tiger to be Tiger.

You can’t script questions.

There is one move Tiger could make that would absolutely show remorse.

If he shared that he continues to need more time to focus on his family and, as a result, won’t be playing in the Master’s this year.

That would show the man’s serious about rehab.

There’s nothing more precious to Mr. Woods than winning more major titles than Jack Nicklaus.

If he was willing to give up a shot at the next major, the making of “Tiger, The Sequel” could begin.

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2 comments

2 Comments so far

  1. Lauren February 19th, 2010 6:06 pm

    Isn’t the cardinal rule of crisis communications to publicly apologize as soon as possible? He’s waited so long that he can’t say too much to sway opinions.

    I agree — it was a poor move to not field questions after his discussion.

  2. Lou Hoffman February 19th, 2010 6:49 pm

    You’re right.

    That’s the cardinal rule.

    Because the more time you delay your communications (and apology), the larger the void which gets filled by others.

    Even though Tiger waited an eternity to apologize, I still thought he had an opportunity to bring closure to the ordeal. By sacrificing the most precious element of his professional life (a chance at the Master’s and another major title), it would have sent a clear message he’s changed man.

    Of course, we’ll never know since he didn’t choose this path.

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