Tiger can win fans back, experts say
Now that Tiger Woods has given his mea culpas, does he’s still have game?
Taking questions from a mob of reporters Monday for the first time since his scandal broke, the disgraced golf star apologized again for his extramarital affairs.
“I have lied and deceived a lot of people,” Woods said during the 35-minute news conference in Augusta, Ga. “I need to be a better man going forward.”
But in the end, his reputation hinges more on his performance at the Masters Tournament this week, marketing experts said. “If he starts winning again, people will stop talking about his personal life,” said Adam Kluger, owner of a public relations firm in the city. “Americans are used to having their politicians and athletes not live up to ideals.”
His five-month layoff from golf hasn’t dampened Woods’ confidence.
“I’m going to go out there and try to win this thing," he said.
Woods, 34, said he had been living a lie for years and “acted just terribly” in cheating on his wife with multiple women. Missing his son’s first birthday during a 45-day stint in sex rehab earlier this year was especially painful, Woods said.
“That’s something I’ll regret, and probably will for the rest of my life,” Woods said. Woods didn’t say whether he had taken drugs before he crashed his car on Thanksgiving, though he did admit to taking Ambien and Vicodin on other occasions. He said his wife, Erin, would not be at Augusta.
During practice rounds earlier in the day, Woods stopped to sign autographs and rolled a couple of balls to kids sitting along the ropes — a 180 from his usual cold shoulder to spectators. Connecting with his fan base is more important than wowing reporters, said marketing expert John Tantillo.
“Media may harp on the therapy, but he needs to try and appeal to his fans and customers. And I think he did that,” said Tantillo, who thought Woods came across as sincere and in control.
Corporate sponsors will also want him back, as long as Woods regains form on the course, Kluger said.
“He may never be on the cover of Wheaties again, but he can rehabilitate his image,” he said.