All together: what was Tiger Woods thinking?
In an extreme departure from his borderline paranoid persona, the world No 2 confirmed this week that he is dating the US skiing star Lindsey Vonn, which had been assumed for months.
The couple posted four photos on the internet, which for the notoriously private Woods, was like calling Phil Mickelson the greatest golfer ever.
Specifically, they were professionally staged, fawning photos, replete with visible corporate logos and the airbrushing of blemishes. It elicited a nearly universal "huh" from his fans, and mixed reaction elsewhere. Vonn was excoriated by many who left messages on her Facebook page.
So, why do it? For two reasons, neither of which relates to Woods suddenly becoming more cuddly – except with potential sponsors. First, Woods detests the paparazzi, and by posting pictures of the happy couple he takes away a big payday for the first snapper to take a shot of them together.
Also, the spin cycle has surely kicked into gear on his marketing machine. After all but abandoning him in its marketing campaigns for three years because of his toxicity among certain consumers, his club and clothing manufacturer has trotted out a series of advertisements featuring Woods. Same for his watchmaker.
Clearly, a sullied reputation requires a longer rehabilitation than a surgically repaired knee, so keep that in mind when considering this publicity stunt. Better yet, take a picture. It will last longer.
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