The PR Guru

December 3, 2009

Thoughts on Tiger Woods’ ‘personal sins’

Filed under: Uncategorized — richardswancott @ 1:28 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Tiger Woods gave a very public statement yesterday which was supposed to put the story of his little scrape at the weekend to bed. Sadly, it’s done exactly the opposite! And it’s also provided the perfect example of how not to do a media statement!

Here’s what he said, and what we think of his comments… (Tiger fans, look away now)

I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves.

In one fell swoop the opening line cranks up the level of mystery and interest, somehow leaving a loose end flapping about, as uncontrolled and dangerous as a downed power line.

I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect.

Hope you’re talking about not tipping in restaraunts or giving away the ending to books.

I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors…


with my family.


Those feelings should be shared by us alone.  

Bit naive here Tiger. You have a high public profile which you have fostered and maintained through adverts, guest appearances and tv interviews; you’ve seen enough people in your position go through situations like this to know how it works.

I have been dismayed to realize the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means. For the last week, my family and I have been hounded to expose intimate details of our personal lives.

Events that happen outside your house, down the street from your house or which involve the police turning up are NOT intimate Tiger. “Intimate” is the last word you want to be using; it translates into “sordid” in most people’s minds and even the slightest hint of sex is enough to set tabloid hacks burrowing away like woodworms in a finely-carved, irreplaceable piece of antique walnut furniture.

The stories in particular that physical violence played any role in the car accident were utterly false and malicious.

That might cut some ice if we hadn’t already seen the pictures of the car. At the very least, your wife shouldn’t have claimed she broke the car’s windows with a golf club to free you. People’s minds will start trying to work out the mechanics of that straight away and will notice the discrepancy between the phrases “backed into a tree” and “had to be dragged from the wreckage”.

But no matter how intense curiosity about public figures can be, there is an important and deep principle at stake which is the right to some simple, human measure of privacy.                                                                                                               

Of course you have a right to privacy, but you’ve stirred up the angry bee-swarm of public interest. There’s no lake of anonymity to dive beneath the surface of and if you just try to ignore it, this story is going become more protracted and damaging with the papers and the internet making increasingly bizarre claims about your personal life which you will find it harder and harder to rebutt. Release a statement giving us the details, put the story to bed on your terms, then drop off the radar for six months to a year; you’ll get some privacy and the media will find something else to get excited about.

Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn’t have to mean public confessions.                                

The story’s in the paper now Tiger, the toothpaste is out of the tube and won’t go back in. It’s not going to go away any time soon and no journalist is going to be shamed out of covering it by you questioning their ethics or complaining about what this is doing to your family. You’re the one whose actions have done the most damage to your family and I doubt they’ll appreciate you holding them up as some sort of media-shield now.

I will strive to be a better person and the husband and father that my family deserves. For all of those who have supported me over the years, I offer my profound apology.                                                                                                

That’s a pretty lofty ideal to aim for; how about you just try to be a better driver. Nothing like this need come out again so long as you master the act of reversing a car.

Well, there you go. Never thought I’d be offering Tiger Woods advice on how to improve his driving. 🙂

He really needs to sack his PR team pronto, and put out another statement, if he’s going to put this to bed any time soon.



  1. […] Excerpt from: Thoughts on Tiger Woods’ ‘personal sins’ […]

    Pingback by Thoughts on Tiger Woods’ ‘personal sins’ golf bar — December 3, 2009 @ 1:45 pm | Reply

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Richard Swancott, Robert Deavall. Robert Deavall said: analysis of tiger wood's statement line by line: […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Thoughts on Tiger Woods’ ‘personal sins’ « The PR Guru -- — December 3, 2009 @ 1:59 pm | Reply

  3. Totally agree with your blog – as soon as celebrities understand the nature of the beast the better they’ll understand ‘the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means’

    Comment by Hannah Pearson — December 4, 2009 @ 3:38 pm | Reply

    • Thanks Hannah. What I can’t get my head around is how naive Tiger has been! He’s been in the public eye a long time now, you would think he’d understand the system after seeing some of his peers go through similar ordeals. Who’s advising him?

      Comment by richardswancott — December 4, 2009 @ 5:28 pm | Reply

  4. […] he has taken a big hit – one far worse than the one his Cadillac took – if only he had listened to us before coming out with all those wishy-washy media […]

    Pingback by PR Gaffes of the Year 2009 (Part Six) « The PR Guru — January 5, 2010 @ 3:45 pm | Reply

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