By Michael McCarthy, USA Today
May 2, 2012
Just when Tiger Woods was putting the scandal that cost him his marriage in the rearview mirror and regaining his mojo on Madison Avenue, the golf superstar is being ripped by critics for spurning the news media in favor of his own online video Q&A on Monday in which he answered questions from fans via social media.
Golf Channel TV anchor Eric Kuselias tweeted it was akin to “Soviet” pressers where Woods didn’t have to answer tough questions about kicking clubs at the Masters.
“So he is basically saying, ‘I am going to talk about the things that make me look good and that I feel like talking about,’ ” Kuselias said during Tuesday’s Morning Drive show. “To me, when you are a public figure and you are a professional athlete and you only acknowledge things that are good for you, it’s weak.”
FoxSports.com’s Robert Lusetich wrote Woods “double-bogeyed” media relations with the nearly 15-minute video. And what a coincidence, he noted, that two of his 19 answers were “thinly veiled infomercials” for sponsors Nike and Fuse.”The nearly 15-minute session in which he appeared — disturbingly, like a hostage — alone in front of a video camera, was unadulterated fluff,” Lusetich wrote.
Crisis PR expert Mike Paul of MGP & Associates wonders when stars such as Woods and LeBron James will learn they can’t control the message. Pauls says Woods’ problem is he’s been surrounded by yes men since the death of father Earl Woods.”If he were my client, I would tell him something he doesn’t want to hear: Your father raised you better than this. If he were alive today and saw you acting this way, he would grab you by your ear, and you would straighten up. His father didn’t play, his father didn’t put up with this kind of stuff.”
On the other hand, Kevin Sullivan, ex-White House and NBC Sports communications director, says Woods answered some “legit” golf questions. And he doesn’t have a problem with Woods giving two shout-outs to sponsors.
But the same second-guessers roasting him now would be hailing him as a forward-thinking social media pioneer if he did the fan video in addition to, instead of, his usual news conference at the Wells Fargo PGA Tour event.
“Had he done that, the story would not be about how he’s trying to send the media message. It would be about how he effectively engaged with his fans one-on-one,” Sullivan says.