As visitors to our house will know, I have not one but six photos of Tiger Woods on the wall opposite the sofa in the kitchen extension where I do a lot of my work.
I bought them from a specialist sports photography agency which often has a stall at Lord’s cricket ground. Taken from behind, they look a little bit like paintings, and record the six stages of what is generally reckoned to be the perfect golf swing. Tiger addressing the ball, Tiger half way back, full backswing, downswing, strike, follow through.
It is therefore, for sports fans, a thing of beauty, and even though I am only an occasional golfer, I like to take the occasional close look at the swing of the master.
Looking at it now, the swing looks as perfect as ever. So studying the pictures in isolation, I feel no differently about him than I did before he became embroiled in his car crash and all that has followed.
But the difference between being a golfer, which is what most pro golfers are, and a global brand like Tiger, is that his golf is not seen in isolation. It is the core of the brand, but not all that it entails.
Accenture are also a brand. Tiger was a key part of their branding, which is why he is so often the first recognisable face you see when you step off an aeroplane.
I had a feeling the writing was on the wall as I walked through Heathrow after getting off a plane from Germany last week. There was Tiger, knee deep in rough, with a strapline suggesting it is always the next shot that counts.
It was a superbly placed piece of advertising, visible to all who were filing down to the Customs Hall via an escalator. You very rarely see people laugh out loud at Heathrow, even in Love Actually. But this became an escalator of laughter and I thought … Mmm, Accenture won’t like that too much.
So they will have been investing a tiny fraction of the sums they invested in Tiger ($7million a year) to find out what their core customers think and then … ‘After careful consideration and analysis the company has determined that he is no longer the right representative for its advertising.’
So, another big blow to Tiger, and there will be more to follow, though none as great as the anger of his wife or the humiliation they have been feeling as the post car crash slow motion car crash has unravelled.
He is still the greatest golfer of all time. His six-frame swing remains a thing of beauty. I will keep it up there for now, and see how things are in the New Year. I have that famous picture of Diego Maradona taking on six Belgian defenders, which might look ok up there. It also shows that in sport, even when the mighty fall, there can be a way back for the really gifted. I have a feeling Tiger will find it. It’s just going to take longer than he might have thought as he hit the hydrant.
Ps. good to see the High Speed trains starting today on the commuter lines between Kent and London. Good also to see the commitment to expanding the high speed network in the PBR.
I was speaking at a rail industry dinner recently and there was near universal acclaim for the way Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis was seizing the initiative on rail. He has given real energy and zeal to an issue whose time, surely, has come. In fact, it should have come a long time ago, as it did in France and Japan for example.