Leave Tiger Alone!

Folks, it’s a free country -- even for Tiger Woods. So for Pete’s sake let’s leave the guy alone already.

The public relations geniuses are screaming that more must be said by the golfing great and fast.


To satisfy the public’s insatiable curiosity for dirt? To pull one of our greats down into the gutter? On what grounds exactly? Because The National Enquirer and Us Weekly have sniffed out possible affairs? Because CNBC's Larry Kudlow is telling Tiger to “fess up” because of the lesson learned from Governor Sanford’s stonewalling?

Well, Tiger Woods isn’t a politician who might have used the people’s money in the course of having an affair, getting into an argument with his wife and crashing into a fire hydrant.

And, you know what, maybe he’s showing that the almighty dollar isn’t the only thing that counts for the most highly compensated athlete in the world? Once you give away your privacy, you can’t buy it back for any price. Maybe he’s willing to lose a few sponsors over this.

Ronald Reagan once said that freedom means the freedom to be stupid sometimes.

What if being stupid is all Tiger Woods did?

What if instead of the worst guesses and rumors of marital infidelity and a spousal golf-club beating, Tiger was simply stupid in a very innocent -- and dare I say it -- normal married way.  He got into a spat with his wife, tore out of the driveway at a crazy time of night, hit a hydrant, hurt himself and felt like an idiot when his wife  -- now both of them very sorry for their spat -- had to pull him out of the car?

What if?

This is the scenario his press releases have implied. This is what the highway patrol’s conclusion supports -- hey, they’re not subpoenaing the medical records and the monetary fine is somewhere south of $200. This is what his neighbor’s eye-witness account bears out.

Bottom line: whose business is this but Tiger’s and Elin’s?

The public relations geniuses are applying the same cures to very different illnesses and essentially different brands.

Tiger shouldn’t listen.

If you are an entertainer like Miley Cyrus and your target market is teenagers and you do something objectionable in your personal/professional life that directly impacts that market and how you interact with that market (her Vogue photo shoot, for example), then obviously you have to be as expansive in your apology/explanation as possible.

This just isn’t the case with Tiger Woods.

He is a private man with a very unique public image that allows him to be a private man. He has cultivated this private man image and the majority of people accept this. By the way, today’s polls are showing this. His press releases were an elegant statements for a male brand that covered the bases while preserving the integrity of his brand.

It’s no surprise that the gossip/rumor mill media wants to use this potentially innocent traffic accident to force their way into the inner sanctum of his privacy. Of course they do. It's their business. -- They make money by having us pay them money for the dirt they dig up on the lives of famous people.

Tiger Woods must be driving them crazy! He is showing real courage by rejecting the P.R. experts and the full-court media press and reminding all of us that we should defend our private lives. Our private lives are sacred and nobody else’s business -- and in this age of instant media judgment we all do well to remember it!

And, remember, the business of business and the business of life is always easier when you keep marketing in mind.

John Tantillo is a marketing and branding expert and president of the Marketing Department of America who markets his own services as The Marketing Doctor. He is a frequent contributor to the Fox Forum.