Tiger Woods: 10 Ways The Golfer Can Improve His Image
As Rick Reilly so elegantly put it, "Tiger Woods is the first person in history to run his car into a hydrant and set himself on fire."
With 71 wins and 14 Major Championship wins on the PGA tour, 38 wins on the European tour, and all in just 14 years, Tiger Woods has done his best to enter the "Greatest Golfer of All-Time" discussion.
He was considered a humble, down-to-earth champion and a very private person.
Tiger had also become the world's most marketable athlete. By 2009, Forbes reported that Tiger Woods had become the first professional athlete to earn a billion dollars in his career. His net worth exceeded $600 million.
However, following public disclosure in November 2009 of his severe extramarital transgressions, Tiger's image took a huge hit. He eventually became divorced from his wife Elin Nordegren in August of 2010 after settling for around $100 million.
Woods took a 20 week break until the 2010 Masters last March, but he has yet to win a single tournament since his return.
Tiger's play is picking up, but how can he get back to the top and be America's sweetheart again, if ever?
10. Accept That He'll Always Have Haters
As a human being, it's a matter of fact that not everyone is going to like you.
When you're a professional athlete who cheated on your Swedish model wife so many times that you lost count, an enormous amount of people are going to hate you.
Early in his career, Tiger Woods, an Asian and African American man playing in what is traditionally a white man's sport, faced his share of haters. He received death threats in the mail and was banned from playing at certain courses because of his skin color.
The injustice was egregious.
Now, Tiger only has himself to blame.
Fans in the galleries taunt him as he moves from one hole to the next. Women's rights groups protest his very involvement with the PGA tour.
Banners, like the one in the above photograph and others, which have read things like "TIGER DID YOU MEAN BOOTYISM" and "SEX ADDICT? YA, RIGHT. SURE. ME TOO" have flown over the courses during tournaments in Augusta, GA and Pebble Beach, CA.
The first step towards Tiger fixing his image is realizing that he has done, in some respects, irreversible damage to it. No matter how hard he tries, he'll never win back some of his former fans.
Accept that some people won't like you, and it becomes easier to make sure that others will.
9. Continue To Be Patient
David Cannon/Getty Images
When news of his car accident and his subsequent affairs came to light, Tiger took the wait-and-see approach.
He is said to have spent 45 days in a clinic receiving treatment for being a sex-addict. Rehabilitation seems to be the go to solution for athletes and other celebrities when their private problems become public knowledge.
In the eyes of the American public, even if you were doing something wrong, if you appear to have an "addiction" to whatever you were doing, it's easier to be forgiven.
Some have called Tiger's alleged sex addiction a joke. After all, how many guys, if they were worth hundreds of millions of dollars, would have done the exact same thing if they were in Tiger's shoes?
I just asked my friends, and the collective answer was, "Lots, probably."
Other than the prepared statement he read at the press conference in February, Tiger has said little else of his behavior. Until he wins, the best thing Tiger can do is continue to play golf, and say nothing.
8. Admit That He Wasn't a Role Model
Tiger Woods needs to take the Charles Barkley approach and admit that he wasn't a role model.
Clearly, he married too young. Clearly, he misled countless Americans into thinking he was a morally good person, and an upstanding citizen.
Tiger misled a lot of people, especially children who idolized him. He needs to come out and say that his actions were not exemplary.
However, this situation has given Tiger a second chance to be a role model. If he does and says the right things, and follows the advice from the next few slides, Tiger Woods will once again be seen in a much more positive light.
He'll become a role model for anyone who has ever made a severe judgment error in their lives and has worked hard to regain their credibility.
It's rare that people get second chances. If he plays it right, Tiger Woods has created one for himself.
7. Make The Apology Rounds
There's nothing that a few tears on Oprah Winfrey's show can't fix.
Tiger Woods has severely offended and scared the women of America. If a guy who lives an insanely fun-filled life with more money than he can spend will cheat on his wife at a moment's notice, then what's to stop their husbands from doing the same?
Tiger Woods was invited onto the Oprah Winfrey show in December of 2009. It would've been his first interview since the accusations against him surfaced.
Perhaps the timing wasn't right, because Tiger declined. Eventually, however, he needs to talk about what he did, and he needs to do it on TV.
Oprah Winfrey isn't the type of host that's going to nail Tiger to a cross. She's an understanding person, and surely Tiger can sway the interview in a manner that he so desires.
At one point or another, Tiger needs to make the interview rounds, and Oprah Winfrey should be his first stop. My mom watches her show every day. From what I can tell, there's no one more in touch with the American woman than Oprah Winfrey.
Appearing on her show could be the first stop on the Tiger Woods redemption tour.
6. Be a Good Father to His Children
Children are often the biggest victims in a divorce.
Especially children of celebrities who are constantly hounded by the media.
If he wants to get the women of America back on his side, Tiger Woods needs to be a good father to his children Sam and Charlie.
Right now, Elin Nordegren has sole physical custody of the children. In time, perhaps Tiger can work toward being able to see his kids.
Once that happens, he needs to constantly be seen in public with his kids. Playing with them, taking them places, buying them ice cream, etc. It doesn't matter what he actually does.
He only needs to be seen making an effort with them. The worst thing Tiger could do is become completely estranged from his children
When they're older, he needs to support them and send them to good schools, like Stanford, where Tiger went as an undergraduate.
Tiger needs to emulate his father, Earl, with the mentor-ship of his children.
5. Promote His Charitable Contributions
Tiger already has a well established track record of charitable projects for youngsters.
The Tiger Woods Foundation was created in 1996 by Tiger and Earl Woods and it focuses on projects for children. The foundation runs inner city golf clinics, provides grants and scholarships for students, and has created the Start Something Character Development Program.
The Tiger Woods Learning Center is a 35,000 square foot facility in Anaheim, California and is used by several thousand students every year. The facility houses seven classrooms, several multimedia rooms, and an outdoor golf training area.
Tiger Jam is an annual charity concert that has raised over $10 million for the Tiger Woods foundation. It will return in April 2011 in Las Vegas, and will feature John Mayer and Keith Urban.
The Chevron World Challenge is an annual offseason golf tournament at Sherwood County Club in Thousand Oaks, CA. In 2007, Woods donated his entire $1.35 million first place check to his charity.
Tiger Woods already gives back to the community. With the amount of money he makes, he can do even more.
However, his accomplishments off the course should be better publicized. In the past, Tiger Jam has hosted Sting, Bon-Jovi and Stevie Wonder.
Maybe it's time to get those concerts televised.
4. Stop Flipping Out on TV
Nothing looks worse than acting like a child after you hit a bad shot.
Tiger has a history of tossing his clubs, slamming his clubs, staring downs his clubs and cursing at his clubs.
As you hear in the video, he's also pretty hard on himself sometimes.
Golf is supposed to be a fun game. Tiger's world is ultra-competitive, but he needs to keep his emotions in check.
Success never comes out of getting down on yourself. The way Tiger has played in the past year, he's had lots of reasons to do exactly that.
But if he's serious about cleaning up his image, acting like a baby on the course is completely unacceptable.
Fist pumps are fine. Trying to tunnel to the center of the earth with your five iron, isn't.
3. Stop Being Inaccessible
I know more about Cigar Guy than I do Tiger Woods.
I feel like I know absolutely nothing about Tiger Woods as a person.
He is one of the greatest athletes in a singular discipline to ever grace the earth, but I couldn't know less about him.
This needs to change. Tiger needs to open up his accessibility and let people inside his life. A reality show would be a good start.
Tiger needs to show on film that he's a good, normal, down-to-earth guy. But he can also show how hard he works to stay in shape and prepare for his craft.
His management team can edit out any footage that they don't want to air, and the world can get a glimpse as to what a typical day in the life of Tiger Woods is actually like.
The show would be fascinating, and would generate enormous advertising revenue. Donate some of it to charity, and you've got everyone on your side.
Who is Tiger Woods? I'm curious to find out.
2. Be More Relatable to Fans
In a recent chat on Twitter, a fan asked Tiger Woods the following: "What did you think when Dave Chappelle played you in the racial draft?"
His response: "At least I was No. 1 pick back then. Fo' shizzle."
In 36 characters, Tiger Woods stated perhaps the funniest, most normal thing he has ever publicly said. We need more of this from Tiger.
For the first time in a long time it made him appear human. His fans and the internet community adored the honesty.
For the longest time Tiger Woods felt like a golf ball-hitting robot.
Twitter is a wonderful tool because it allows famous people to connect with their fans on a more personal level, without the media interfering.
Tiger needs to make use of his Twitter to connect with his fans and form a more personal relationship.
1. Just Win, Baby
There's no method in sports more reliable for restoring a positive image than winning.
Kobe Bryant's rape accusations faded after he started winning championships again.
Michael Vick's dog fighting crimes have been put on the back burner since his success with the Eagles.
Ben Roethlisberger is regarded as a "playmaker" rather than a sex offender, since he has had continued success between the lines.
The list goes on and on.
It's been nearly a year since Tiger Woods has returned to the golf course. His last win came in September 2009 at the BMW Championship. His last Major win was the 2008 U.S. Open.
During his drought, Tiger has led in tournaments but hasn't finished higher than second. His killer instinct seems to have vanished; getting it back will be vital to his success.
There is no one better at clinching tournaments when going into the final day at least tied for the lead. Tiger Woods used to have a Mariano Rivera-like closer's mentality. But we haven't seen it from him in two years.
If Tiger starts winning again, all may be forgiven. Fair or not, that's just the way it works.