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How Tiger Scored with Women at His Press Conference Today
I'm just one woman, but I know a lot about women - especially female golfers. I watched Tiger Woods' press conference in a gym this morning with quite a few women and I didn't hear one positive reaction. The most common thread was "Still a jerk!" So my conclusion is that he scored poorly.
Here's what I think went wrong: First, it was too little and too late. Everything Tiger said in this virtually media-free press conference could have been released in a statement on his website or read by his agent. For more of my feelings about both Tiger and the PGA Tour - see my article on www.cybergolf.com entitled "It's Not Just About Tiger - It's about the PGA Tour" at http://www.cybergolf.com/golf_news/its_not_just_about_tiger_its_a_wakeup_call_for_the_pga_tour.
When you raise expectations like those surrounding today's event and then nothing of significance is said, people are disappointed and, more importantly, disillusioned with Tiger's sincerity on all levels. I don't think he gained anything today.
As mothers, we know when our children apologize for hitting a sibling and really mean it and when their answer is just their own little "scripted" apology. Today I thought I heard just a scripted apology that rang hollow. That nice hug between Tiger and his mom did not change my mind, and I am sure that pre-planned embrace will be the photo op of the press conference.
I think he has still let his fans and the game down. I think that if he really were on the mend, his wife would have been there. And I thought his concluding statement of "I want to ask for your help" was ridiculous.
What kind of help can I give him? Attendance at his next golf event? A card or letter saying that I know he has some sexual problems? Why couldn't he have simply said, "Give me a second chance"?
His statement he now knows that he doesn't play by different rules was also ridiculous. The reason the Golf Writers Association of America boycotted the conference is because its staging was, in fact, confirmation that Woods and his agents believe he still feels he can follow different rules - because he's Tiger.
About the timing of this press conference: 11 a.m. is good for all time zones in the U.S. - a wise move by his handlers. But it was a bad move for the Accenture Match Play tournament currently underway. (Of course, Nike issued a supporting statement after Tiger's press conference. They would have had to be business dummies to do otherwise.)
One final comment: The LPGA is beginning its season this weekend at a major tournament in Thailand. The event is sponsored by Honda and PTT, one of the largest oil companies in the world that is based in Thailand. All of the top female golfers and rookies are playing. The coverage of that tournament by the press has been terrible and overwhelmed by the Winter Olympics and Woods.
I have a lot of confidence in Michael Whan, the new commissioner of the LPGA, and hope that better press coverage lies ahead for the women's tour. If you want a distraction from Tiger or the Olympics, visit www.lpga.com and find the Honda PTT Thailand web page, or watch it on the Golf Channel this weekend.
Nancy Berkley, President of Berkley Golf Consulting, is an expert on women's golf and junior-girls golf. Her book, "Women Welcome Here! A Guide to Growing Women's Golf," published by the National Golf Foundation, is an industry reference on marketing golf to women. She is a resource for golf-industry trends and is speaks frequently at golf industry conferences. She offers information and advice about the golf industry on www.nancyberkley.com. She is also the author of the NGF publication: "Insider's Guide to Careers in the Golf Industry." She was a contributing editor of "Golf for Women" magazine and a founding advisor of "Golfer Girl Magazine." Her interviews with women in the golf industry now appear on her new site: www.golfergirlcareers.com. Nancy lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Harvard University and Rutgers Law School. After a business and legal career, she decided to write about the game she learned as a teenager and loved. She describes herself as a good bogey golfer with permanent potential.