Experts give Woods high marks


NEW YORK – Experts in communication and branding found Woods to be generally honest, remorseful and sincere in his remarks Friday.

They liked his focus on taking ownership of his problems and protecting and defending his wife and kids, but some wished he’d said specifically when he’d return to golf.

Some of their views:

John Sweeney, director of sports communication at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication:

“I found his statement very human and very effective. The staging when first announced seemed calculated. However, when you saw that Tiger had to make these apologies directly to people while his mother watched, it took on a power and sincerity that couldn’t be questioned.

His words were direct. None of the modern hedging and clever word twists that could be taken two ways. He took responsibility, showed remorse, and presented his behavior in stark terms.”

Laura Ries, president of Ries and Ries, an Atlanta branding firm:

“He finally did it. He finally came out, apologized and showed his face. That was the most important thing, just showing up. Was it a great performance? No. But had he delivered too smooth a statement he would have been accused of being too slick. But don’t blame the media! You are the highest paid athlete in the world … The fact that the paparazzi are following you and your family – Boo-hoo. It’s your fault for not speaking publicly earlier.

The critical things that were missing: When exactly will he return to golf? And Elin not being there did say a lot. Nobody can blame her. But had she been in the front row with his mom it would have helped show that she is taking a step towards forgiving him. …

He looked a little hunched over, a little beaten down, and partly I think that was a reflection of how he’s feeling about what he’s done and what he’s facing. He didn’t have much of an expression on his face, and he’s not a very good public speaker. His delivery was weak, he was stiff, and there were several fumbles. You could almost see on his face that it’s all been too much for him.”

Mitch Abrams, sports psychologist:

“I thought he did great – he did as well as he could have. The main thing he needed to do was take ownership of what he had done, protect his family and deflect any responsibility or wrongdoing from his wife. The fact that he mentioned Elin by name several times personalized it.”

Rick Burton, sports marketing professor at Syracuse University:

“What Tiger may have achieved today was giving the people who love him and who love the game the hope that things will get better. He seemed sincere, deeply embarrassed and ashamed. He looked rehearsed and I am sure he was, but this may have been a step in his therapy that was intended to be controlled.

This is part of a journey, a process. His words are going to get picked apart like the Gettysburg Address, but he spoke of his mistakes, his failings, his need to do things differently. My guess is he did say all the things armchair psychologists will want to hear.”

Bill McGowan, image consultant for Clarity Media Group:

“I think he came off very Tiger-like, in that it was a little too rehearsed and a little too scripted for my liking. The more scripted you are, the more risk you run of not being authentic or sincere. I would have liked to acknowledge, ‘I have some prepared remarks but I’m going to set them aside and talk from the heart.’ I would have loved him not to be reading anything.

I was very aware he wasn’t wearing a golf shirt, he was wearing a dress shirt, no tie. I thought that was very planned. … Today should have been the complete and total purging, and I think by delaying facing some questions, he just extends this thing more. I think Tiger took his medicine, but in a way that was most palatable to him.”