"Last week Tiger Woods hit a tree and a bunch of ladies fell out." (via @sethmeyers21 on Twitter)
If you're the world's highest earning athlete right now, it is an extremely difficult time. The past week would have unfolded like a nightmare. The paparazzi is offering exorbitant prices to those who will get the next Tiger Woods mistress. Practically speaking, every few hours someone is claiming to have made love to Tiger Woods.
It wasn't like this on Friday, November 27 when it all began.
November 27 - After Tiger Woods' car "accident" it becomes public that Woods’ wife, Elin Nordegren, used a golf club to smash out the back windows of Woods’ SUV in order to free her husband from the vehicle. When the police came to Woods’ home to speak with him about the accident, they were turned away by his wife who told them that he was sleeping. The gossip wheels begin turning.
November 29 - Woods hires an attorney, begs for privacy on his website, describing the situation as "embarassing".
December 1 - Media gets wind of a story slated to appear in US Weekly which talks about a woman who claims that she had an ongoing affair with Tiger Woods, and even more, she had a voice mail and hundreds of text messages to prove it.
December 2 - The world wakes up, turns on their computers, logs onto www.usmagazine.com and listens to the following: "Hey, it's Tiger," he says in the voice mail, "I need you to do me a huge favor. Can you please take your name off your phone? My wife went through my phone and may be calling you. So if you can, please take your name off that. Just have it as a number on the voice mail. You got to do this for me. Huge. Quickly. Bye."
Moments later, Tiger Woods releases a statement on his website. Although he uses the word “transgressions” instead of “affairs”, it was quite obviously what he was admitting to.
(By this time, the statement has doubled up as a vocabulary lesson for America. The world is looking up the meaning of the word 'transgressions' and Google Trends captured this.)
December 3 - US Weekly reports that Woods and his wife are now involved in renegotiating their pre-nupt.
December 4 - Y E Yang - the first player in history to take down Tiger Woods at the 2009 PGA Championship - is now leading Tiger Woods' very own golf tournament.
Here's a list of the alleged Tiger Woods mistresses. So far.
Rachel Uchitel - NY VIP hostess, Jaimee Grubbs - Las Vegas cocktail waitress, Vh1 reality show extra, Kalika Moquin - Las Vegas night club executive, Jaime Jungers - Las Vegas model, Mindy Lawton - manager/waitress at Orlando area Perkins, Cory Rist - New Yorker
(Image courtesy: AP)
The most unfortunate part in the entire mess, is that Woods has little sympathy from his fans. Some are simply frustrated at the endless newsbits flowing about him, while others are leaving no stone unturned to crack the next funny Tiger Wood tweet or wisecrack.
For the record, I did not sleep with Tiger Woods. (via @bridgetashley)
Guess how Tiger Woods starts his love letters? - "To whomsoever it may concern" (via @macpc78)
Tiger woods publicist wants him to change his name to cheetah (pronounced cheater) (via @vickkapoor)
There's a Tiger Woods mascot at the Jaguars game. Flirting with the cheerleaders...haha (via @brittlovescam)
It's 11:23 PST on Sunday 11/6. Isn't it about time we heard of another Tiger Woods transgression? (@via Keanland)
RT @the_bowchicka i am so sick of tiger woods being the center of the world. millions of people have sleazy affairs. get over it. (via @iamtrouble08)
Just a thought...I have no respect for the women that cheated w/Tiger Woods and then spilled their guts later for publicity. Pure trash. (via @kizmetbaby)
Isn't it fascinating that the media blitz on Tiger Woods and his wife just won't let them have a regular family upset. Does anyone care? (@PAMJH1953)
Then there's a popular spoof on the Tiger Woods controversy is doing the rounds.
Tiger-gate has also sparked an online creative streak with content producers making jokes and photoshopped pictures. There's the Tiger Woods Voicemail Slow Jam Remix which is trending on popularity charts. Based on the voicemail allegedly left by Tiger Woods for Jaimie Grubbs (one of the alleged mistresses) asking her to take her name off her phone before his wife called her, this video is produced by HalfDayToday and it was distributed via social media and has now gone viral.
All's not lost though. Woods has got some support from Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. In this article, Hefner says that monogamy is "over-rated".
"I think the only surprise in it, quite frankly, is that anybody would be surprised," the Playboy mogul says. "If you're a good-looking guy and young and healthy, the notion that there would be something else going on, well, marriage is just a convenience. "It's very nice for raising kids," he adds, "but the notion that monogamy lasts forever is a wish!"
Till then, he'll have to deal with stuff like 'Maybe Journalism' which The New York Times writes about here.
(Image courtesy: The New York Times)
A computer-generated “news report” of the Tiger Woods S.U.V. crash — complete with a robotic-looking simulation of Mr. Woods’s wife chasing him with a golf club — has become a top global online video of the moment, perhaps offering a glimpse at the future of journalism, tabloid division. (No matter that the police said she was using the club to release Mr. Woods from the car.)
The minute-and-a-half-long digitally animated piece was created by Next Media, a Hong Kong-based company with gossipy newspapers in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The video is one of more than 20 the company releases a day, often depicting events that no journalist actually witnessed — and that may not have even occurred.
What does this all mean for Brand Tiger Woods? Will he roar again?
There are some, though who think that he will.
David Deal, VP, marketing for Razorfish says that Brand Tiger Woods would be affected only if he "had done something to tarnish his image as an athlete, like, say, smoke crack or take steroids. Putting his health at risk would have been in greater conflict with his brand as an athlete than cheating on his wife because his entire public persona is wrapped up in his success as a golfer."
Philip Sherwell writes in this detailed article in The Telegraph:
...businesses will be studying their "morality" get-out clauses - and Gillette could review its commitments if his face was badly cut - but few industry analysts expect them to walk away from a cash cow. Nike for example pays him $30 million a year, but the golf division it built from scratch on his name brings in annual revenues of $800 million. "It will take a catastrophe for his corporate sponsors to pull away from him," Rick Horrow, a leading sports business analyst, said.
"Tiger Woods is the most recognisable man on the planet after Osama bin Laden and the Pope. He is only 33 years old, he may have another 15 years of playing golf and another 30 years of designing courses. You can be sure that he has only made his first billion dollars and he makes a lot more money for the businesses associated with him."
By contrast, several other US athletes have paid a serious financial penalty for public relations disasters. Just this year, Kellogg's did not renew its contract with swimmer Michael Phelps after he was photographed apparently smoking marijuana. Woods has doubtless already reached out for advice to his friend, Kobe Bryant, the basketball star, who has redeemed himself after losing major sponsorship deals when he was accused in 2003 of sexual assault in charges that were later dropped.
However, the golfer's communications with the world since the accident has seen him post just two statements posted on his website. The crisis management strategy has clearly come in for sharp criticism, says The Telegraph article.
Mike Paul, a high-profile New York public relations and crisis management executive who knows both Woods and Miss Uchitel from the world of celebrity clients. "He has not been well-advised by the strategy of laying low," he said. "The first big mistake was not to talk and get his side out in the first 24 hours. He should have taken control by apologising early and clearly. That would have taken the air out of the balloon.
"The second big mistake was when he did issue a statement, it came on his website and reads like it was drafted by a lawyer. Real men don't talk about transgressions. Real men admit what they did. Now he is asking for privacy. But when you sign that first big money contract, you also in effect are signing a contract with the public. You gain a lot in terms of money and fame, but you also give up your privacy."