Tiger hunting in full swing

Tiger hunting in full swing

Woods has seen his squeaky-clean image crumble with a sex scandal that has made him the butt of jokes and put his alleged mistresses on the front pages of celebrity magazines and featured prominently on national television.

And it’s not likely to end any time soon, despite Woods admitting to infidelity and asking for “the time, privacy and safe haven we will need for personal healing”.
“It is selling magazines. It is increasing traffic to websites. Celebrity media is a business, and while Tiger’s business is going under, the media is doing beautifully,” said Hollywood public relations veteran Howard Bragman.

Bragman described Woods, who has been in hiding since the scandal broke with a bizarre car crash on Nov 27, as ‘a hunted man.’ A photo of Woods, with possible facial injuries from the accident, would fetch up to $1 million, he said.

Jim Bates, a crisis management consultant with the Los Angeles firm Sitrick Brincko, said it was unrealistic for Woods to hope to escape the media frenzy in an age in which anyone can take pictures on mobile phones and have them up on the internet in a few minutes.

All pervasive

It’s not just news outlets that have jumped on the Woods story. Satirical TV sketch show ‘Saturday Night Live’ spoofed him a week ago and TV chat show host Jay Leno has been running a nightly ‘Tiger Tote Board’ counting the number of women claiming or reported to have had sex with the married golfer.

Website, dailycomedy.com, has some 543 Tiger Woods jokes by Saturday. An animated game called ‘Tiger Hunting’, which has Woods dodging obstacles in his SUV pursued by a golf-club wielding blond, had been played 1.7 million times since Dec 1 on break.com.

Bonnie Fuller, former editor in chief of ‘Us Weekly’ magazine who now runs the website HollywoodLife.com, rejects the notion that Woods has been hounded.
“He dug his own hole. He was leading a whole other second life that was the complete opposite of his image. That’s what has gotten him into trouble,” Fuller said.
“It’s the women who have come forward. It’s not like the media had to go digging. He said too little initially and did not come out personally. That fuelled the speculation, and there was disappointment among his fans that he didn’t step up and admit it sooner,” she said.

Fuller and Bates suggested Woods, who has more experience with sports journalists than celebrity media, could help himself by doing a TV interview with the trusted media personalities like Oprah Winfrey or Diane Sawyer.

Steve Helling, who has covered Woods for seven years for ‘People’ magazine, said celebrity media was a different creature from the golf media where Woods’ handlers have been able to vet questions and restrict access to friendly sports reporters.
The lurid, unrelenting media coverage of the world No 1 golfer’s fall from grace over a sex scandal will hurt the multi-billion dollar sponsorship market as companies shy away from individuals whose behaviour they may feel they cannot control, experts said.

Talk of how Tiger’s troubles will affect the sponsorship market picked up steam after Accenture said on Sunday it was ending its six-year sponsorship deal with Woods.
The star golfer was estimated to earn about $100 million a year in endorsement deals before his unwelcome troubles.

Not everyone is, however, abandoning Woods. Nike Inc  chairman Phil Knight said the scandal was “part of the game” in signing endorsement deals with athletes and he did not back away from the athletic shoe and clothing maker’s relationship with the golfer.