Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Unleash the Tiger

I was happy to hear that Tiger Woods is earmarked for a return to professional golf in April when he participates in the Masters. I tend to wonder though if the sex scandal will not have an influence on his performance. That will be greatest test of the man's stamina thus far, whether he can rise from the ashes and rekindle the sporting fire that elevated him to superstar status as one of the greatest sports men to grace our planet.

My personal feeling is that despite all the negative press coverage, the nasty emails, the temporary loss of sponsorship, the marital strain and emotional damage, this scandal could actually be a boost to his career if cleverly managed. Many celebrities will tell you that any publicity is welcome, be it positive or negative. Muhammad Ali was as famous for his boxing abilities as he was for being the loud and outrageous "Louisville Lip." The likes of Diego Maradona have basked in the media's attention to their drug habits and subsequent rehabilitation. David Beckam had a similar infidelity scandal but he came out of that with a reinforcement of his "stud" status. Talk about Madonna in music, Prince Charles in royalty and Maryln Manroe and Hugh Grant in Hollywood, scandals and controversy have brought more attention to these individuals than positive publicity could have given them alone. As long as you stay on top of your game that scandal can be the best career booster that you have ever had.

I can already hear cries of disagreement from some of you as you read this post. I will be the first to admit that scandal and controversial lifestyles have cost many their careers and lives. Tu Pac died living up to his gangster image. Brenda Fassie thrived on but eventually fell victim to her wild ways. Marion Jones never came back to dominate the Athletics track and Michael Jackson was never the same after his headline legal challenges.

As I say, it is all about how that negative publicity is handled. Do you let the emotional stress get you down and affect your career, or do you harness the publicity and give press conferences where you shed tears and apologize for any hurt that you might have caused to your family and fans? Do you disappear from the public eye and hibernate to the the point that you no longer do what made you a household name in the first place or do you show that you are a fighter who can defeat all odds?

Tiger has played the right moves of late. He has done the public apology and expression of regret, made a public appearance with his wife, played the therapy card and packed the killer punch, the announcement of a come back at a major tournament. His return is already a much buzzed about event. He has not been away from golf for so long that he has lost his touch and should he win, it will be sweet victory in these bitter days of his.

As a result of all this drama, he will be smiling to the bank as the media pay top dollar to get a piece of him. Promoters will compete to lure him to play in tournaments and advertisers will crave more than ever to exploit this renewed fame even if derived from vice and hedonism. Oh yes, there will surely will be a book and movie deal down the line just to add another dime or two because at the end of the day it is all about the Benjamins!

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