For most of the past four months, golf superstar Tiger Woods has avoided the media as much as possible.
But just a day before the Masters began on April 8, Woods’ top endorser, Nike, aired a commercial that exposed a bit more of Woods’ inner life. ?
In the ad, which initially aired on ESPN and the Golf Channel, a motionless Woods is seen staring directly into a camera, silent, while the voice of his father Earl Woods, who died of prostate cancer more than four years ago, can be heard advising him. ?
“I want to find out what your thinking was. I want to find out what your feelings are,” the voice of Earl Woods says. “And, did you learn anything?”
Whatever Woods may have learned about his personal life, he hasn’t forgotten any of his skills on the golf course. By Saturday, Woods was tied for third place after two rounds of play in Augusta at six stokes under par.
Woods has been greeted on the course with polite applause and a somewhat smaller-than-usual gallery crowd. The debate over his appearance in the Nike commercial, however, has been much more heated.?
Some advertising experts said the commercial isn’t only effective, it’s “masterful.”?
“It is a brilliant marketing stroke to acknowledge that the brand has changed a bit,” Donny Deutsch, chairman of the Deutsch ad agency, told The Washington Post. “He wants to make a statement that he as a person, father, and golfer has a new level of consciousness, and the best way to demonstrate that is through his father’s voice.”
?But not every viewer has given the commercial a positive review. Rosie DiManno, a columnist for the Toronto Star, wrote this week that Woods “prostituted” both himself and his father for the benefit of his most important sponsor.?
“Just when it seems that Tiger Woods has got a grasp of scruples—which are not the same thing as morals – he puts his foot in it. To sell shoes,” DiManno wrote.
“ allowed Nike to exploit both his personal travails and the memory of a beloved father with the most distasteful TV commercial in recent memory.”
Log onto AFRO.com for an update of Woods’ standing following the third round of the Masters Tournament on Saturday, April 10.