Mar 11, 2010, 10:00 AM EST
For all of you who wagered that Tiger Woods would make his return to golf at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on March 25, please collect your winnings. At least that’s according to today’s New York Post, which is reporting that Tiger is plotting a return to golf at that event. Here’s one thing you probably didn’t bet on, however: Advising Tiger on his every move over the past week or so has been Ari Fleischer, who you remember from such hits as the Mark McGwire steroid rehabilitation tour, and the Valerie Plame White House podium comedy jam. So if the Post report is true, Tiger is back in a big way; he’s not fooling around this time. Sorry, poor choice of words there.
But this may be one of the worst moves that Tiger has made so far.
Rather than a mandate on Tiger’s political leanings, a better explanation of the Fleischer hire is that Fleischer’s Sports Communications firm is a joint venture with IMG Sports & Entertainment, the firm that represents Woods. Still, is this a wise move? More on that after the necessary details:
The Post reports “two sources in the golf community” say Ari Fleischer, now a sports PR consultant, has been meeting Woods in anticipation of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which starts March 25 at Bay Hill in Orlando.
“They were in his living room this week going over a strategy for how to handle Bay Hill in two weeks,” one source told The Post.
Meanwhile, Mark O’Meara, told the Golf Channel Wednesday that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Woods entered the Tavistock Cup in Orlando March 22-23 at Isleworth.
“It’s been a rough road the last three or four months in Tiger’s life and his family’s life,” O’Meara said on the network. “It’s a very difficult situation. Golf is what Tiger does, and possibly part of the healing process is to get back at it.”
So, getting back to golf? Good. Hiring Fleischer? Not so much. Fleischer’s efforts on behalf of his other high profile sports clients, such as McGwire, the Green Bay Packers, the BCS and Major League Baseball; and of course George W. Bush, have resulted in middling returns at best. Mainly he’s brought in only when things are so screwed up that no one can really fix them.
But this is totally fixable, and doesn’t require Fleischer at all. Tiger lives in a world where if your swing is off, you hire an expert to come in and repair it. If your Escalade is wrecked, you hire a mechanic to knock out the dent that’s shaped like a fire hydrant. But some problems only require a heaping dose of common sense: The only specialist that will help Tiger with his image right now is Tiger himself.
Tiger’s prescription for future success is simple, and doesn’t need any spin: Quit screwing around with cocktail waitresses and porn stars, buy flowers for Elin once a week and play golf like a man possessed. You didn’t kill anyone or start a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme, after all. Spin is your enemy, and always has been. You don’t need to put on a flight suit and tour an aircraft carrier. Just play golf and leave the Mission Accomplished banner at home.
Woods hires ex-Bush aide to prep for return in two weeks [New York Post]
Tiger reportedly plotting return at Palmer event [MSNBC]
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