For Brand Tiger, Silence Isn't Golden

Rumors, Suppositions Can Be as Damaging as Reality

By Published on .

Peter Madden
Peter Madden
Can any of us imagine what it's like to be Tiger Woods? I sure can't, especially when I'm anywhere near a golf course -- just ask anyone who's seen my swing. I also can't picture his kind of life under the media spotlight when there's no trophy to hoist, only the weight of many questions left hanging and tongues wagging since an early Friday accident.

Does he have a right to his privacy? Absolutely. Tiger isn't remotely obligated to speak with the media as it relates to whatever he was doing early Friday morning. But he certainly has an obligation to the Tiger brand, and a silence so deafening only serves as fuel to a machine chewing at every possible corner of the story, and getting hungrier. If he doesn't speak up, damage will certainly be done (if it hasn't been done already).

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Tiger Woods is a billionaire not just because of his almost $100 million in career winnings, but also because of the many, many millions he's been paid to endorse brands from Buick to Accenture. His performance on golf courses from Pebble Beach to Dubai is nothing short of hypnotic. His charity towards everyone from children to veterans through the Tiger Woods Foundation is equally impressive. If you looked up "Mr. Perfect" in the dictionary, he would be there surrounded by thousands of trophies and accolades he's collected over the years.

But what happens when perfection meets the reality of the imperfections that exist in all of us? It's sad. When said athlete decides to stonewall, it's just plain scary. To think that someone so careful about his public image and so deftly able to handle the media from a young age decided to let the wind blow the story wherever it may leaves many fearing the worst.

I'd like to think that he was rushing to the local all-night drugstore to pick up some Motrin for one of his children who had a fever, got a frantic call from his wife on his cellphone, looked down to pick it up only to lose control and run into the fire hydrant and tree.

That's just a guess, and because Tiger has chosen not to talk, and we can be cynical, and we live in the real world, we assume many things -- including the worst. Did he hit his wife? Did she hit him? Was he drinking? Does he have a mistress? Did his children witness something awful? What are they covering up?

At this stage, we have no idea if domestic violence played any part whatsoever within the Woods household that night. I'd like to think it's impossible. Until we hear something from Tiger, we're left to guess. The din from the media will only grow and expand in the meantime. I can only wonder that if information came out that domestic abuse was elemental to what happened at Woods' estate, he would have the opportunity to do something much greater than win any tournament -- take the light from himself and focus it squarely on the injustice that is domestic violence.

At the least, I wish Tiger would just step up and address some of the conjecture head on. It doesn't need to be a press conference -- a statement that essentially references the innuendo and asks us to mind our business would be better than nothing. It would take a lot of air out of the negative hype balloon, at least.

Silence isn't golden, especially in this case.

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