November 30, 2009


One of the many great spectacles in college football is a packed LSU Tiger Stadium with the crowd chanting “TIGERBAIT” as the opposing team enters.

In another arena, sports icon Tiger Woods is making a spectacle over his lack of response to an early morning car accident into his neighbor’s tree.

While he did issue a brief statement on his website, which raised more questions than it answered, he has yet to speak to law enforcement about the accident.

It raises the question: How much information is enough to satisfy the letter of the law while placating the arena of public perception?

From the legal perspective, Tiger’s attorney provided “license, registration and proof of insurance” to officers; the bare minimum.

In the arena of public perception, it isn’t as cut and dry.

Tiger has been successful because of his athletic abilities.  Leveraging his consistency and discipline, marketers have helped elevate Tiger Woods into a sports icon who has earned the public’s trust through product endorsements.

 In all of those endorsements you’d be hard pressed to find images or references to his wife and family.  That’s because he is fiercely private about his personal life.

If he had wrapped a golf cart around a tree at a golf course, I have a feeling we would have seen Tiger owning up to the circumstances and the public curiosity would have moved on.  However, since this occurred off the course, it is, in Tiger’s mind, out of bounds.

And here lies the issue.  The public is clamoring for information about Tiger’s private life.  In this era of reality television and a 24/7 news cycle, there are some who think he owes the larger public a more detailed response than what appeared on his web page.

Tiger was wrong waiting 48 hours to make a statement; it should have been issued within 24 hours of the accident.  While it did provide personal responsibility, it raised more questions than it answered.

Despite the hovering helicopters, stalking media, and crowd that is yelling “TIGERBAIT”, this Tiger is consistent about not commenting about his personal life.  That discipline will be his key to moving past this incident.

Image of Tiger Woods provided by the Baltimore Sun

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