Last week saw Tiger Woods making the toughest pitch of his life. Tougher than any pitch onto the 18th green to win a major championship! How did he do?
Opinion, and there was lots of it all around the world, was surprisingly divided with generally the golfing press being more forgiving than the rest.
He undoubtedly achieved objective number one to put Brand Tiger back on the map ensuring that when he does return he will be as popular as ever. After all, as the world’s best golfer his spitting and swearing have not alienated his followers. So why should a little sex?
The performance itself was stage managed to the nth degree. He dressed down to provoke sympathy, and read a carefully crafted speech as if coached by Tony Blair. As sports journalist Mat Syed wrote, “It had it all, regrets, tears, apologies, dramatic pauses, stern words about privacy even religion”.
Despite all this, for most it was his tone that betrayed him. Although apparently emotional he never lost control. He lacked ‘any tangible sense of authenticity’. Or, as Kevin Garside put it in the Telegraph, “he spoke with the sincerity of a double glazing salesman”.
Given that he is a perfectionist to whom practice (and presumably rehearsal) is second nature, how did he fail to make any emotional connection with so many viewers? Perhaps it was, that like Blair in the Iraq enquiry, he was not the least bit interested in ‘us’, the public.
Like Blair, the only audience he was there to appease was corporate America. Not fellow golfers, not the media and not us.
Lorraine Kelly in the Sun caught the feelings of many. “Then we have the daddy of them all, the shamed and disgraced Eldrick Woods, (previously known as Tiger), who was badgered into saying sorry for being an arrogant, philandering, smug sleazy git”.