What would Eldrick do? I am not Tiger Woods. Tiger, are you?

August 9, 2010

By Michael Mark, CEO/Creative Director @ NYCA

I am not Tiger Woods. Tiger, are you?

Tiger, this must sound weird to ask, considering you are the most famous person on the planet – but, do you know who you are?

Excuse me for this personal question, but I feel like we are connected somehow. And I have a bit of guilt with this “transgression” situation for having pressured you into being what I thought you should be. And the pressure was so extreme it forced you away from ever being who you might have always been. And to complicate the matter, I have been secretly pretending, like the commercial said, that “I am Tiger Woods.”

Every win of yours was ours. We all drove you hard, applying our mass will, pushing you further up the leaderboard, into the history books, away from us, so you could be better than us. And in pushing so hard, removing you from yourself. We never intended to lead you away from the rules of decency.

Like it or not, we’re all involved here. Yeah, you, me and two billion others. And yet, in the end, your transgressions are yours to live with. That’s the bad business of idol worship.

Now, for the record, and we know how we are attached to records: I am not asking whether you know what you have done on the course and off. It’s been documented.

Knowing yourself is not simple, especially with all the labels placed on the world’s most well-known person. You’ve got “world’s greatest golfer – ever,” “prodigy,” “elder statesman (Ryder Cup),” “celebrity at 2 years old,” “foundation owner,” “Asian,” “African-American,” “husband,” “father,” “son,” “hero,” “corporate endorser,” “adulterer,” “liar,” “billionaire,” “legend,” “friend,” “teacher,” and “role model” for starters.

It must be harder than any Sunday at a Major to live your life so publicly – so much so, maybe it wasn’t your life.

With all this, it’s tough to tell who is Tiger Woods.

But I come bearing an answer: change your name.

Take the name on your birth certificate. You can start over again, Eldrick. Maybe that original name switch started the whole series of events. Names are powerful mirrors, windows. Open yours.

It’s better than running off to board your yacht, Privacy, because as you know you’ll find no privacy there – big as that boat is. Sooner than later you’ll run into Tiger, the stowaway.

You’d still be somewhat famous, though, should that be something you want to keep. Google “Tiger Woods” and you get 56,700,000 searches. “Eldrick Woods” gets 429,000.

You might wonder would Eldrick have done the things Tiger did? Will he hit the shots that Tiger can? Can he fix the mess that Tiger has made?

Try this: “I am Eldrick Woods! I am Eldrick Woods.”

Well, it’s just an idea, a direction. And it’s not about erasing what was done like it never happened. That’s for the second coming. We know that’s not your role, now. This is just a second chance.

Might even turn your game around.

Best of luck. Whoever you are.


Creativity can cure everything.

June 18, 2010

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @ NYCA

The story is about a person with a serious heart condition who envisioned a way to live his dream.

Erik Compton, a two-time heart transplant survivor who is getting a shot at this week's U.S. Open

In the hospital, after being told he’d never play at the professional level again, he watched TV and imagined his own head on the bodies of those pros. On his back with the third heart just in his body, he created his future.

This week he is playing in the U.S. Open.

We have this power. Let us be inspired to use it to solve our issues and see and build our futures.


Is it enough to be great?

April 21, 2010

By Meghan Tetwiler, Brand Planner @ NYCA

Yesterday the No. 1 player in women’s professional golf, Lorena Ochoa, at just 28 announced that she is retiring. I suspect her unexpected announcement is stirring debate amongst, not only LPGA followers and Ochoa fans but also, professional athletes everywhere.

Lorena Ochoa

Athletes of Ochoa’s caliber rarely leave their succession of achievements to pursue other passions. In Ochoa’s case she has said, after getting married last winter, she wants to focus on her family and charitable programs she believes in. I can only imagine how laborious it must be to feel torn choosing between what she wants to do and she is extremely good at.

In my lifetime I’ve watched pros like Michael Jordan, Brett Favre and Dana Torres attempt to retire but been unable to walk away from needing the intensity of the competition or the high global esteem that professional athletics satisfy.

Let’s think beyond athletics, for a moment. How often do successful business people admit to being unfulfilled by their wealth of achievements? This common lack of acknowledgment, prevalent in so many professionals, feeds our culture with false hope. We think being great is enough, but is it?

Success, whether in monetary value or championship trophies, doesn’t necessarily lend itself to self-fulfillment. It takes courage to walk away. As a competitive woman, it takes devotion to put family first. I admire Ochoa’s talent and also her great conviction. I hope she finds the fulfillment she is looking for in her next stage of life.


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.


False idol.

April 7, 2010

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @ NYCA

Shot like he’s Jesus.

Emotionally stripped, revealing nothing.

Accusatory visage, deflecting introspection.

Words from the father from another world.

Just false.


Tiger Woods is just the world’s best golfer.

December 14, 2009

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO  @NYCA

I am not pissed at Tiger.

I didn’t invest hundreds of millions in him like TAG Heuer, Nike, Accenture, Gatorade and Gillette.

I didn’t even buy his clubs or red shirts.

I did buy into his supernatural, god-like ability to play the game I am completely dedicated to. And he has not let me down. He’s an athlete, I’m a fan. We have our roles. He hits amazing shots, I cheer. Deal.

Some say he let down golf.  He didn’t. Contrary to what his late father proclaimed, Tiger is not bigger than the game. I suppose this is proof. Golf doesn’t cheat.

I don’t think he screwed golfers either – well, only if those girls played golf.

So why is everyone so upset?

Because with Tiger – unlike Jordan and Kobe and all the other athletes who’ve done the same thing – it’s different. Was from the start.

His first Nike commercial when Tiger joined the brand set it all up. It said, in the first person, “Hello world, there are still courses I can not play because of the color of my skin.”

He made it about more than athletic prowess. Tiger was standing up not as a golfer but as a representative of his race. He wanted fairness, equality, outside the game. Fair enough.

There was the even more famous ad that followed, showing kids of all nationalities on the course, repeating the phrase: “I am Tiger Woods.”

This was more than an equipment ad because Tiger was more than just a golfer. Golfers didn’t just want to play with what he played, or play like him (remember Michael Jordan’s “I want to be like Mike” campaign from the same advertiser). They wanted to be him.

But now we see who he is, the personal side of him, and we are repulsed because we thought we knew him so well through millions of stories, videos, interviews read, shared, and commented on, that we wanted to be him. To the kids, he was them. Maybe he was the best of all of us. So when he sunk low, he brought us with him.

We can’t trust our politicians. They lie.

Or our corporations. They cheat us out of our 401K.

Or our banks. They sell us loans we can’t repay.

Or our clergy. They touch boys.

And now we can’t trust Tiger Woods.

So who can we turn to?

Ourselves. Oh boy, we can’t adopt another’s morality, character, integrity? We can’t be what we thought Tiger Woods was? Nope. Get up and look yourself in the soul and ask, “Are you Tiger Woods? Or are you more? Are you you?” It’s okay, you can say yes, you won’t be cheating on him. Tiger’s transgression changed his relationship with the world: his advertisers, his kids, his wife, and us. And, in part, that’s a good thing because it teaches us to be our own heroes.

It’s fine to want to bomb 360 yard drives with a Major on the line. It’s fair to covet his golf abilities. And it’s also good to know who you are admiring and why. You owe that to yourself.  Tiger Woods has been someone very special to millions around the world. He’s done some wonderful things outside golf – his foundation that helps so many children is one. And, yes, he has been caught cheating on his family. Some will one day forgive him.  I think that’s a good thing.

The truth is, even if we do forgive him, he’s not Tiger Woods any more. He’s just the world’s best golfer.


NYCA Invites Golfers to “Suit Up”

September 29, 2009

For Immediate Release:

Innovative interactive feature equips users for some of the world’s toughest courses.

Reflecting adidasGolf’s unique philosophy that golfers are athletes, as well as its mission to create equipment for the body, NYCA has created a website for the performance-focused company that gives users the opportunity to interact with the footwear and apparel, be inspired by a fitness regime specially designed for golfers and enhance their own golf game.

Picture 1pr

The site, www.adidasgolf.com, centers around the idea of “Suit up,” a battle cry born of the idea that when one puts on their golf clothing it should look great but be more than fashion – it must get them mentally and physically prepared to take on the challenges of the game. The technology part of the site goes into detail about the innovations that adidasGolf brings to the golfer.

In the unique, interactive “Suit Up” section, golfers are – for the first time ever – able to change the weather at some of the world’s most challenging golf courses, including Royal Birkdale and Whistling Straits, and learn how to conquer the elements with equipment suggestions for those specific conditions.Picture 5pr

The “Suit Up” mantra also applies to the golfer’s mind, body and spirit, and adidasGolf.com features a golf-specific “Conditioning” section which includes a workout regimen, as well as sections devoted to nutrition and mindset, where golfers are encouraged to approach the sport with an athletic philosophy.  Because of its leadership in emphasizing the importance of fitness and mindset, adidasGolf has the support of Core Performance and Mark Verstegen, one of the top sports fitness trainers, contributing content based around this philosophy.

Picture 11pr“Every piece of adidasGolf equipment is created to enhance the performance of the golfer,” says John Kawaja, Executive Vice President/General Manager of adidasGolf. “The new site dramatizes the philosophy, the innovation and the benefits of our mission with a total dedication to bringing the athlete closer to the sport.”

According to Michael Mark, creative director/CEO at NYCA, “From the idea to the design, everything about adidasgolf.com is about athleticism and performance. It’s an authentic connection between the game, the golfer and apparel and footwear that are so technically superior they perform for the golfer the way true equipment should.”

NYCA, a full-service advertising agency, opened its doors and arms to the world in March 2002. Clients include TaylorMade Adidas Golf Worldwide, Rossa Putters, Maxfli Golf, ViewSonic Corp., The San Diego Union-Tribune, SignOnSanDiego.com, The EastLake Company, Kyocera Wireless, EnDev (Stingaree, Side Bar, The Witherby, Ciro’s, Bar West), San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau, New Dental Choice, Duramed FUTURES Tour and others. The 38 remarkable NYCAers work on the beaches of Encinitas, California. Lucky, huh? Log on to www.nyca.com to learn more.