The big Tiger announcement is set for tomorrow morning. What is he going to say? I don’t know. Why are you asking me?
What should he say? That’s an easier one to answer. Not for me, of course. It’s easy for Chris Cotter. He’s a reporter at Fox Business Network, and used to hold the same title at SNY in New York.
SCP: What do you think America needs to hear from Tiger to allow him to begin climbing back?
CC: I think America would love to hear a recalcitrant Woods and watch him fall on the sword. With the exception of very few instances involving his father, he has always been too robotic, and that has served him well over the years. Now it is time to be a human being. He doesnâ€™t have to apologize for anything, but I think it would be well received if he showed some humility and used the word “try”, as in trying to be a better person moving forward (whatever that means). We love to forgive those who are like us… Human beings.
SCP: How does this compare, from a business standpoint, with Mark McGwire’s recent apology and A-Rod’s apology last season?
CC: It is different in the sense that Tiger never cheated the game. His issues were of a personal, family nature. A-Rod and McGwire lied for years to the American public and cheated at the game that made them rich and famous. Tiger had also cultivated a different public image. He was very well liked. Squeeky clean. A model corporate spokesman. Neither McGwire nor A-Rod have ever enjoyed such popularity and were not used extensively on Madison Avenue. In many ways their admissions were foregone conclusions and never really upset the apple card.
SCP: Will this impact Tiger’s sponsors? What about the companies that dropped him?
CC: The sponsors who stuck with Tiger will reap the benefits if he decides to return to playing competitive golf. If he returns, he will win. Plus his new-found humility (if indeed he finds it) will eventually make him even more popular with fans and the general public. That is why even non-sports/golf related sponsors will line-up. It wonâ€™t make sense for some, such as previous sponsor Accenture. Tigerâ€™s cool, calculated and steely approach under pressure persona is gone forever. Companies looking to convey this presence in their products should look elsewhere.
SCP: What about the PGA? How much did it suffer in his absence? The ratings for his tournament back are going to be absolutely ridiculous, right?
CC: Tigerâ€™s return is huge for the PGA tour. Ratings always dip when Tiger isnâ€™t present at events, but that happens often anyway. He never plays anywhere near a full PGA Tour schedule. Tigerâ€™s retirement, even if just for one season, would cost hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue from CBS television rights to the attendant at parking lot #4 at the Valero Texas Open. Every tournament would suffer. Every golf related industry and small business would suffer. Mizuno, Nike, Callaway, Dickâ€™s Sporting Goods, Golf Depot, Bobâ€™s House of Golfâ€¦You name it.
SCP: How pissed is Phil Mickelson right now?
CC: Lefty is LOVING the fact that Tiger might return. Mickelson needs Tiger. Woodsâ€™ return gives Phil the opportunity to renew the rivalry, with a perfect set-up. Man of the people versus the malfunctioning robot. Lefty always had faults and almost embraced them. Now we understand them and because of those faults, we will embrace him as our champion. His popularity will grow with Tiger back. It will be like Arnie and Jack all over again (but even better) if both of them play great golf together. And oh by the way, according to Forbes, Mickelson has elevated his game to become the worldâ€™s second highest paid athleteâ€¦ Collecting bank WITH Tiger in the game.