(Photo: AP/The Golf Channel)
For Tiger Woods, the road back to the fairway is a calculated voyage.
His reputation in tatters from sordid sexploits, Woods continued to creep back into public life this week with two carefully crafted five-minute TV interviews.
As he preps for his golf comeback at the Masters on April 8, image consultants are divided about how the world’s greatest golfer can polish his image.
“The strategy of him having a silent period was a good one,” said Walter Guarino of Insight/SGW, a branding and marketing firm. “I don’t think the [ESPN interview] was smart, it just keeps all of this alive.”
His mistresses also are keeping the story alive. Yesterday, “adult entertainer” Devon James said she and the married father of two had a relationship for more than two years that started with a threesome that cost him $2,000 per woman.
Image consultant Gloria Starr said future interviews should focus “strictly on his comeback … no airing of dirty laundry. And he should be out and about with his children and family allowing the press to photograph him.”
Woods’ reputation rehab had been partially orchestrated by Ari Fleischer, but the former White House press secretary reportedly dropped the gig Monday.
Sandy Dumont, founder of World Association of Image Consultants, said Woods botched his interviews earlier this week.
“He needed to grovel,” she said. “What he should have said is ‘I hurt my sweet, precious wife that I love more than anyone in the world other than baby and I’ll never be able to make it up but I’ll try and I’ll try.’ He said none of that.”
“He really wasn’t sincere,” she added. “It didn’t look genuine at all.”
Jason Maloni, vice President of Levick Strategic Communications, agreed that Tiger’s comeback seems to orchestrated.
“For Tiger, what’s needed is less a media strategy as it is a golf strategy,” Maloni said. “He needs to get back to playing and winning — and then that becomes the story and the headlines.
Jason Fink contributed to this story.