Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Crisis Management: Tiger Woods Accident

Crisis Management: Tiger Woods Accident

Case Study

Tiger Woods, a well known Professional Golf Player injured in an accident. According to a patrol accident report, Woods crashed his sports utility vehicle into a fire hydrant and a tree at 2:25 am in the early hours of Friday morning and suffered facial injuries as a result of the incident.

As a well known public figure and a highly endorsed athlete, the media started to speculate over what conditions inside the Woods home might have caused him to have an accident. And to satisfy the public's insatiable curiosity for the details of celebrities' lives, tabloid media started to dig deep and assigned unwarranted significance to the accident even when the police say that the accident on Friday was neither alcohol nor drug related. Woods was cited for careless driving, fined $164 and no criminal charges are being pursued, the Florida Highway Patrol said on Tuesday.

However, Woods remained silent and said, "This is a private matter and I want to keep it that way." Rumors started to circulate about Woods is having an affair and Elin Nordegren, Tiger Wood's Wife was also reported at the scene of his accident, brandishing a golf club she reportedly used to get in Woods' car and free him, which Woods called "courageous" in his statement, but there are rumors that the wounds on Wood's face is due to the golf club.

US Weekly did the interview with this newest woman claiming a 2 1/2 year affair with the married Woods.

Tiger Woods has carefully protected his image during his years atop the professional golf world, but in the wake of tabloid allegations of infidelity and a still unexplained early morning car accident after Thanksgiving, that image is now being scrutinized.

For every moment of silence, more questions are raised and rumors created about the Woods family. "Tiger Woods" is a trending topic on Twitter and a popular subject on YouTube. If silence is the strategy the corporate sponsors want to adopt, are there social media strategies that can be adopted on behalf of Tiger Woods to allow Tiger Woods to battle and put aside the rumors without Tiger actually coming out and making a statement?


As a public relations practitioner, I feel that the best solution is for Tiger to come out and tell the truth. Let all the rumors come to an end and just give the harsh truth. Of course, if the accusation of him having an affair is true, he should consult his wife, come to terms with his wife and perhaps break the truth together. Whether his wife forgives him or not, the truth should be out there to prevent other speculation, then an apology that his behavior is not acceptable as he is a role model would make him look human, and in time, his fans will forgive him as he is still the #1 Golf Player and he can get back to focus on his game.


However, if I was a Public Relations consultant hired for this crisis management and Tiger Woods was unavailable to comment on anything due to contractual agreements from his sponsors, I would do the following:

1) Gather the facts through investigating the scene and get what ever is avaialble.

2) Search the internet and social media for all the rumors on Tiger Woods.

3) Construct Blogs, Tweets, YouTube Videos, to do the following:

a) Show how some of these rumors are hilarious and so far from the truth. (Funny sells, and can go viral)
b) Shed more light on the facts, and share any available information. (Truths)
c) Create spin off content that is ridiculous about the incident, get laughs to ease the rumors.

4) Monitor the public opinion and social media for the new development in the crisis.

5) Participate and encourage the hilarious and ridiculous videos, hopefully creating a lighthearted side to the crisis, and laugh it off.


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