What Tiger Woods needs to learn about press.

El Tigre may know how to swing a club, but he’s pretty handicapped when it comes to knowing how to spin a story.

By now, the world is abuzz with what really caused the Tiger Woods 2:25 AM car crash outside his Floridian mansion.  Was he drunk?  Was he on drugs?  Was he on his way to meet another woman?  Did his wife beat the sand trap out of him for a prior affair?

Why all these questions?

Because he didn’t come out in front of the story.

Whether we like it or not, refusing to talk, pleading the fifth, or hiding behind an agent makes it look like you having something to hide, whether you do or not.

The moment that Tiger refused to talk to the police, the rumor mill went into overdrive, and the story started to spin out of control.  The second time?  The third?  Tiger has missed so many news cycles that whatever really happened is now going to get even more attention.

Obviously something serious is going on in the life of the world’s greatest golfer, and for that I’m very sorry.  But if Bill Clinton, Britney Spears, Alec Baldwin and the rest of the celebs in this world have taught us anything it’s that you can f-up and can be forgiven.

The best way to handle a press crisis of this nature for a celebrity or for a show is to come out in front of the story, and come out first.

As a producer, you want to own the story.  You want to control the story.  Hide from it, and the story will become bigger than it deserves to be.

Unless of course, you actually want the press.


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  • Holly says:

    What you say is true, Ken! As a PR person who has handled many “crisis” accounts over the years, I wanted to share an email I sent on Sunday to one of my celebrity clients regarding Tiger’s situation:
    I imagine you have been following the Tiger Woods drama? It’s a sad but valuable case study of what NOT to do! The following article addresses this too–it illustrates how easily a public figure can jeopardize a good reputation by trying to hide the truth rather than admitting to it. (http://www.golf.com/golf/tours_news/article/0,28136,1943293,00.html )
    Once a public figure has been involved in a questionable situation, there are 3 rules most crisis communications advisors follow. They advise the person NOT to hide the truth from the public, no matter how painful that might seem. Instead, their best advice is: 1) Tell it all. 2) Tell it early (when the story first breaks). 3) Tell it yourself!
    Tiger Woods broke all 3 rules and things are getting worse every day that he stays silent. I hope his agent (who keeps stalling and asking the police for more time) will see the light and let Tiger speak to the media so the gossip will stop. It may be tough, but only the truth will set him free.

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