How Tiger Woods should handle his sudden PR crisis

Tell it first, tell it yourself and tell it all. That is the tried and true formula for handling a messy public relations crisis in the smoothest possible way.

Tell it first, tell it yourself and tell it all. That is the tried and true formula for handling a messy public relations crisis in the smoothest possible way.

When Tiger Woods let 13 hours lapse after Friday’s early-morning accident without issuing an explanation, he ceded control of his story not only to legitimate news outlets, but also to celebrity gossip mongers on the hunt for a tale — made up or otherwise — of adultery and mayhem.

The story of Tiger’s first major off-the-course bogey was in their sights and the race was on to fill in the juicy details.

Woods hired attorney Mark NeJame, which shouldn’t raise eyebrows — after all, the police are investigating Woods’ crash — but repeatedly declining to be interviewed by the police makes it look like he has something to hide.

When Woods finally responded with a Sunday afternoon statement, he called the rumours false, malicious and irresponsible.

Good for Tiger, who has a track record of successfully taking on the tabloids. But while he took responsibility for the crash, he provided scant information. “I want to keep it (private),” Woods said of the details surrounding the middle-of-the-night incident. Good luck with that.

Woods’ strategy leaves many questions unanswered, which has ignited a media frenzy to fill in the blanks and take down the world’s most successful and well-known athlete.

Tiger’s problem is that we’ve seen plenty of public figures in hot water make stern denials only to later be backpedaled into confessions after third parties talk or more information is unearthed. Remember the cases of Marion Jones, Michael Vick and Pete Rose, to name a few -– along with a parade of politicians, most recently former senator and presidential candidate John Edwards –- who misled and later came clean.

I want to believe Woods that all those salacious rumours are false. I certainly don’t blame him for wanting to keep private whatever happened that night between him and his wife, Elin. But it’s unrealistic.

The state police want answers about the incident.

The media won’t let it go.

And while Rachel Uchitel has denied the National Enquirer report that she had an affair with Woods, watching the video of her at LAX Sunday standing silently before the cameras alongside celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, it’s hard to imagine that we’re not going to hear from her soon.

So here are three suggestions for Woods:

• Don’t delay. Hold your scheduled press conference today to kick off the Chevron World Challenge, which, since it benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation among other charities, makes it the perfect backdrop. Without going into every private detail, provide a sense of what led to the collision. Give an explanation, take a couple questions, and then move on to previewing the tournament and how it will benefit the work of your foundation.

• If you have something to own up to, do it completely and you will be forgiven. Just ask Kobe Bryant.

• If not, disarm the skeptics with your sense of humour. Gary Peterson of the Contra Costa Times had a suggestion: Say you were excited about a Black Friday sale and got carried away. Then give a sincere explanation.

Anything that actually addresses the incident will bring Woods one step closer to putting it behind him. Otherwise, he better get used to seeing the van hanging around his subdivision.

Kevin Sullivan is the founder of Kevin Sullivan Communications, LLC. He was White House communications director under President George W. Bush, and before that was a communications executive with NBC Universal, NBC Sports and the Dallas Mavericks.

Just Posted

WATCH: Central Albertans learn about farm life at Sunnybrook Farm Museum

Pioneer Days Festival in Red Deer Saturday-Sunday

Number of seniors who play bridge in Red Deer growing

Red Deer Bridge Club has been around for close to 60 years

PHOTOS: Buccaneers battle Wolfpack in AFL semifinal

The Central Alberta Buccaneers battled the Calgary Wolfpack in the Alberta Football… Continue reading

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

Central Alberta Yogathon cancelled Saturday

Due to air quality concerns the fourth annual event will take place Sept. 15

VIDEO: Central Albertans learn about Icelandic poet at Stephansson House

Harvest Fair and Quilt Show hosted at Stephansson House in Spruce View Sunday

Trump says his White House counsel not a ‘RAT’ like Nixon’s

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that his White House… Continue reading

Wildfire moves closer to Glacier National Park’s scenic road

MISSOULA, Mont. — A wildfire in Montana’s Glacier National Park is forcing… Continue reading

Prime Minister Trudeau, Premier Couillard march in Montreal’s Pride parade

MONTREAL — Thousands of cheering spectators lined the streets of Montreal on… Continue reading

All eyes on Andrew Scheer as Conservative convention set for Halifax

OTTAWA — After a week of internal caucus squabbles, Conservative Leader Andrew… Continue reading

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

In the wake of deadly flooding in the Indian state of Kerala,… Continue reading

Indonesia’s Lombok island jolted by multiple quakes

SEMBALUN, Indonesia — Strong earthquakes jolted the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok… Continue reading

Afghan president calls for Eid cease-fire, Taliban to reply

KABUL — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called for a conditional cease-fire… Continue reading

Montreal may have less influence after October provincial election

MONTREAL — When Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault recently dismissed the… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month