BrandDunk has covered different aspects of how Tiger Woods situation will affect his endorsements. Today we have a talented guest author who offers a fresh perspective on the situation to let sponsors know when to expect a return to normal.
This guest post is authored by Casey Harverstick, a freelance writer who has written for ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine. Casey is an avid golfer who resides in Austin, Texas – you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elin Holds the Cards
Much time has passed since “the wreck.” Tiger Woods has made his much-anticipated, very public apology. Since Tiger made it clear he’s not going to discuss what happened the night of the accident, two big questions still remain: When will Tiger return to competitive golf? Will Tiger and Elin remain married?
One person has the answer to these questions. That person is not Tiger. It’s his wife, Elin. How the media and its revelations have impacted Elin – not Tiger – is an interesting and less frequently viewed angle. Below is a breakdown of how various factors of this story could impact Elin’s decision.
Tiger’s Soliloquy (aka: Tiger’s apology)
Surely Elin was pleased with what Tiger said. However I can’t help but think she was upset that he had to say it in that forum. She’s obviously a private person. That Tiger had to apologize to the entire world for being an awful husband couldn’t sit well. By the time he spoke publicly, he had probably apologized to her 1000 times. So this one wasn’t really about her at all. It wouldn’t surprise me if she didn’t even watch. And it definitely didn’t surprise me that she wasn’t there.
Impact on Elin: Non-factor
Hard to look at it that way, considering this was easily the biggest, most scrutinized event since the accident itself. Elin had already heard versions of that speech ten times over by the time he stepped to the podium. Mostly, it served to embarrass. And provide the public with his face on camera.
The Women and Their Stories
Rachel Uchitel was the first Tiger Woods mistress to be revealed
This situation completely went out of control when it became evident that there were a lot more than just a couple women. Per the Hillary Clinton corollary, I got the feeling Elin could possibly forgive a tryst with one woman, maybe two. When we got into double digits, I assumed it would be a deal breaker. Conversely, the double digit tally also paved the way for the “rehab.” As if to say a man who sleeps around with one woman isn’t pathological. The rehab gave Tiger something to focus on – parameters and rules and, maybe most importantly, he had a reason for his behavior. An addiction. Anyway, out of everything that came out, this had to be the most damning. Especially considering it got so much media attention. That it happened so publicly and crudely only hurts Tiger’s chances – at golf and reconciliation. These were surely the darkest, hardest days for Elin. It’s one thing to find out your spouse is cheating on you. It’s another to find out about it on ESPN.
Impact on Elin: Big factor.
Ultimately, could end the marriage. And could definitely delay Tiger’s return to the course. If he’s fighting to keep her – however one goes about that – it will definitely not behoove him to pound balls nine hours a day while she shops or hangs out with the kids. That said, you can’t just sit down at the dining room table and hash this out in a night or two. But not playing doesn’t fix anything either. Around and around we go.
Stevie’s Interview and Tiger’s Inner Circle
Tiger Woods caddie, Steve Williams, speaks out
Steve Williams, Tigers’ caddie/friend/bodyguard, has pleaded ignorance to Tiger’s philandering from the outset (Stevie’s comments on Tiger). And like everyone else who read that, I found it incredibly hard to believe. He’s sticking by it. It’s important to note this isn’t your standard player-caddie relationship. Tiger was the best man at Stevie’s wedding. Tiger covered Stevie in tears after winning the British Open in 2006 shortly after his father’s death. He cried more on Stevie’s shoulder than he did on his mother’s or Elin’s. It’s not like they go their separate ways after every round. Tiger typically rents houses during tournament weeks to avoid the public – and because money isn’t an issue. All these nights Tiger strayed Stevie wasn’t staying at a Motel 6 and he definitely wasn’t camped out in the front yard. This interview reads like a direct plea to Elin: Don’t make Tiger fire me. Stevie can’t be the only one sweating his future. From the onset there has been much speculation about Tiger’s entourage. With reconciliation a possibility, would Elin allow Stevie, Byron Bell (best friend from childhood), Mark Steinberg (agent) and numerous other confidants to stay in the inner circle? Tiger makes all of these people a lot of money. Millions and millions of dollars at stake here. This is not to say Tiger isn’t solely responsible for his actions. But she must feel scorned by these people – they’re her friends, too. Or at least she thought they were.
Impact on Elin: Small factor for Tiger’s return; non-factor for their reconciliation.
I’m not sure putting Tiger in time out and not letting him play with his friends will serve any other purpose than to make him unhappy – and cost him money. Granted, that might sound pleasant in itself to her. I doubt Elin believes Stevie was ignorant of everything, but she’s got her hands full without picking a new caddie for Tiger. Steinberg is an agent – and nobody likes or trusts agents. There isn’t a successful agent in the world who wouldn’t cover up for Tiger Woods, if given the chance. That said, assuming a reconciliation is in the works, there will be discussions between Elin and Tiger about who he spends his time with on the road. These discussions could definitely lead to a delay in his return or a change to his normal playing schedule.
Tiger’s College Girlfriend’s Article
Tiger Woods college girlfriend, Irene Folstrom
Golf.com published this article from Tiger Woods former girlfriend from his days at Stanford.
Impact on Elin: None
Laughably transparent and self-serving. Let me get this straight, you’re coming to Tiger’s defense by saying he treated you well in college? How would Elin read this? Do you want her to be happy for you? I have an easier time believing Stevie didn’t know Tiger was in orgies than believing Tiger never cheated on this one. I hope Elin never read it. For my money, this is the cheapest, most unattractive story I’ve come across and I’m surprised it got published on a non-tabloid website. I’ve listed it here only as an example of the lengths the media will go to get a headline when there’s a lull.
Regarding their marriage, I don’t have a rooting interest. I do hope the kids can have somewhat of a normal childhood (which was probably a long shot the moment they were born). As a golf fan, I’d like to see Tiger back at Bay Hill and then, of course, The Masters. The game misses him. The networks and sponsors definitely miss him. To borrow Reggie Jackson’s line, he stirs the drink. If I could ask Tiger just one thing, it would be this:
Would you mind if I asked Elin a question?