‘Winning Takes Care Of Everything’ was the tagline placed on an image of Tiger the day after he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational and regained the #1 world golf ranking. It immediately created a firestorm of social and traditional media blowback, given the obvious interpretations related to Woods’ off the course scandal and very messy break-up of his marriage. [Forbes]
THE HEADLINES at the check out line in super markets across America all had the story. The world’s “golden girl” of skiing, Lindsey Vonn, and the number one guy in golf, Tiger Woods, are dating. The couple made it official themselves.
If you went shopping this weekend you couldn’t miss it. It’s everywhere since Tiger Woods reclaimed his #1 status, which was accompanied by a love PR offensive, complete with photographs ready to release.
US Weekly had the biggest headline and the photo of the couple: “In Love with a Sex Addict.”
In case you were wondering, “She was warned!”
So, if he cheated on his wife, won’t he cheat on Vonn? People make mistakes. They also learn from them. Woods’s kids are older and very aware of the world around them. The golfer also paid a very high price for his cheating. He had been in a discipline cocoon all of his life, but once his father died, who was his mentor, coach and hero, Tiger Woods was on his own. The unwinding was epic. It wasn’t surprising for anyone who has ever been a disciplined athlete, though its rarified air that Woods occupies.
Vonn is the #1 skier in the world, the four-time World Cup champion, with no woman having as many wins as she does. She knows the drill. She trains as hard as Tiger Woods, is in the same league in her own sport and knows the demands. When she had her epic crash in February, Woods sent his jet for her, with TMZ getting the photo of Vonn boarding Tiger’s jet, so she could quickly travel to get what everyone hopes was the career saving operation.
The biggest obstacle to their relationship will likely not be his past, but their demanding sports careers and the egos that go along with it. At least they’re older, he’s 37, she’s 28, which automatically helps.
Woods knew what was coming, as did Vonn, so they prepared and unleashed 4 photos when they announced they were dating, attempting to beat the tabloids.
Woods told the New York Times of the decision: “We wanted to limit the stalk-a-razzi and all those sleazy websites that are out there following us. I’ve had situations where it’s been very dangerous for my kids.Ã¢â‚¬”°”¦ We basically devalued the first photos.” The move also sends a message to their fans, says Nick Nanton, a celebrity lawyer and branding consultant. “If you’re known as someone who lets your social media followers in on secrets before the media, it builds a stronger line of communication with your fan base,” he says. “In the long run, that can be very profitable.” [Business Week]
In the age of social media, however, there was another thing needed. So Vonn did what anyone does in the 21st century social media era. She posted a short missive on Facebook.
I guess it wasn’t a well-kept secret but yes, I am dating Tiger Woods. Our relationship evolved from a friendship into something more over these past few months and it has made me very happy. I don’t plan on addressing this further as I would like to keep that part of my life between us, my family and close friends. Thank you for understanding and your continued support! xo LV
Needles to say, Vonn was taunted, with commenters saying she’ll be sorry.
Obvioulsy, Tiger Woods already told her everything, so she’s going in with eyes open. The heart wants want it wants.
But what about endorsement deals? Tabloid US Weekly speculated that “publicly aligning with a notorious sex addict may have expensive ramifications.” The purest form of professional sexism, as if the #1 female skiier in the world wouldn’t benefit financially from being associated with Tiger Woods. Taking the worst case scenario, if Woods cheats on her or pulls any shenanigans like he did when he was married, the sympathy factor for Vonn would be epic. But even looking at that is ridiculous, because she’s a pro in her own right. What she really needs is for her injury to heal so she can prove herself again.
Businessweek had a better analysis. The question: How will their involvement affect their respective endorsement deals?
It’ll help. Last year, for the first time since 2004, Woods wasn’t the highest-earning American athlete on Sport Illustrated’s Fortunate 50 ranking. He dropped to third place, behind Phil Mickelson and Floyd Mayweather. Woods made just(!) $54.5 million in 2011, a little more than half of his $92 million earnings in 2009. “Being in a public relationship is going to be very beneficial for him,” says Anthony Fernandez, an athlete branding expert in Orlando. “It shows he can be normal. Sponsors want somebody they can trust, who’s reliable and isn’t going to cause a scandal.” Vonn made roughly $3 million last year, mostly from endorsements. “I don’t think her price tag will go up,” says Fernandez. “But she’ll definitely become more valuable to her existing sponsors. She was a name to begin with, but now that she’s dating Woods, she’s entered another league.”
When Tiger Woods first faced the media after his humiliation, he handled it very, very badly. It’s obvious he learned from that mistake, at the very least got good advice, so he and Lindsey Vonn are ahead at this point.
Together, they also pulled off beating the “stalk-a-razzi,” with Woods and Vonn conspiring as a couple to beat the media. There’s little doubt that effort alone made them closer. If they can steal some normalcy amid their high flying careers they just might enjoy themselves and get a chance to see what’s really between them.