One Man's Opinion: Woods' Press Conference Was Effective

Dissecting the Tiger Talk

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Peter Madden
Peter Madden
As the communicators, we're taught that public relations is the art of positioning through communications. Communications in this sense is everything from what was said, not said, and the visual presentation. In the case of Tiger's redemption party (or more like a wake), the following is my take on what was a highly-crafted and highly-effective press conference on a number of fronts:

1. The setting: Tiger on stage, alone, with the royal, almost presidential blue drapes behind him. As if to say, despite his failings, let's not forget the importance of the man. These royal blue drapes were everywhere. It might as well have been a funeral home. It kind of was.

2. The clothes: You thought there was going to be a Nike symbol anywhere on him? Tiger made the very wise choice of the light blue shirt, almost sect-like in its appearance, with a plain black almost ill-fitting jacket, acknowledging the supposed weight of the proceedings at hand. This was not a Tiger "red Sunday," after all, and though white was the color of choice for the image on his site accompanying the announcement of this press conference, it may have been too angelic a choice for this day. Light blue says: "Believe in my innocence despite my failures." Light blue says: "I surrender, kind of." Light blue is hope! Hope for what - we all know.

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3. The podium: Remember, Tiger could have chosen a bulky wood pulpit, but no. Today was a day he was going to visually not hide any longer. That podium was as bare as a rec center's emcee announcing the 50/50 winner. Two lonely microphones were Tiger's only friends on stage. Speaking of...

4. Elin: Missing in action. Tiger wasn't going the Spitzer route, a doe-eyed wife standing by her man. This certainly spoke volumes in terms of the status of their relationship. I don't know if holding the conference without her was the wisest move. Interesting she's been spotted in full Nike regalia, though. If not standing by your man, at least stand by his sponsors!

5. The face: It looked like he hasn't slept in months, which is possible. Sullen, drawn, thin and plain sad. No visible scarring. And you'll never see Tiger pull off facial hair in any way, shape or form, now or in the future. He'll have to present himself in a way that would make Richie Cunningham from "Happy Days" look wild.

6. The mom: Every man who watched the apology has seen that look on his own mother's face. Except every man has probably been 12 at the time, and accidently broke a window with an errant baseball. Her look spoke volumes in terms of disappointment and disgust; it said "What would your father say?"

7. The hug: It was hard for this author not to feel slightly sorry for him for at least a moment when she hugged him post-speech. You don't stop being a parent -- ever.

8. The speech: Strange choice for Tiger to get defiant with the media "stalking" his children and reporting that Elin had taken a 9-iron to his face, etc. If he had done the right thing and come out much earlier, there wouldn't have been so much stalking/guessing/musing. Today was not the day to be mad at anyone but himself. Will he ever learn? And did anyone believe that the Mrs. didn't tee him up? Still lying. Woods shanked it when it mattered most in the end.

9. The set-up: No questions allowed. You better believe it. We're still living in his world no matter how many hostesses he hosted. Though he said those questions and answers are between he and Elin, don't think he won't handpick the reporter to dissect him for Sports Illustrated/20/20/TigerBeat, many months if not years from now. (Kudos to the Golf Writers Association for deciding to boycott instead of playing pawn.)

10. The old Tiger: We got just a glimpse. After he hugged his mom and her two therapists (just an assumption – not fact), Tiger gave that post trophy-raise flash of a grin and bro-handshook his agent Mark Steinberg. "It's all good," their body language seemed to indicate.

Then he disappeared into the blue.

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