Playing for Redemption

April 11, 2010

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @ NYCA

The person. The player.

One has nothing to do with the other and yet, with the Tiger Woods situation, they have become forced bedmates.

No one knows if what happened off the course will affect Tiger’s play.

I can’t imagine his shot-making will affect Tiger’s relationship with his family.

But what about the rest of us?

Are we more likely to accept, excuse, Tiger’s transgressions if he wins?

When he struggles on the course, will we think, “Aha! That’s Tiger getting his comeuppance for what he did to his family.”

I think so, though I don’t think it’s right. What do golf fans have to forgive him for, except not playing, not entertaining them? After all, that’s the contract we have with him: He hits amazing shots, we stand mouths agape.

He is a father, husband, son to a very few so his athletic majesty will have little effect on them. The vow is not love, honor and birdie.

Tiger’s big sponsor, Nike’s Phil Knight says this whole matter is already forgotten and never was much anyway; in fact, he’s made a commercial to remind us of it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zr0JDJFEOqw Just to increase sales. Those brands that have left him will not come back to Tiger, though they will want to. He will attract other quality brands. They will be betting on his personal turn-around. They will get the chance to be magnanimous, capitalize on forgiveness, knowing he is as attention-getting as an athlete has ever been. The first new brand on board will get unearthly press. No doubt, there’s already a line of companies ready to align themselves with him. And it’s as long, perhaps, as the fans ready to cheer for the world’s best’s best golf shots.

The kind that win trophies, build brands, make fans, land in the hole but fall short of redemption.