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By Anthony Olabode Ayodele (Chart.PR)

It was during the 2003 President Cup at Fancourt, George, South Africa. The US team and their International counterparts had tied 17-17 and the game entered play-offs.

Tiger Woods was selected to represent the US, while Ernie Else was the Internationals choice.

After two holes halved in the Play-offs both approached the third. Tiger was left to putt an 18 footer from the hole.

 Gary Player said regarding the lie; ‘Tiger’s was impossible’!

Tiger, however, re-focused, bent and tapped the ball the whole distance and sank it!

Speaking about it later he said something along the line of shutting out the crowd, concentrating/re-focusing on the task ahead and making the putt.

Re-focusing seems to be what we can learn from Tiger Woods again as he, On Sunday 14th of April, won his 5th Masters and 15th Major Title. It was eleven years after winning a Major and 15 years after his last Masters.

The victory also redeemed a battered image of an excellent golfer and a family man loved by the people.

During the 2003 SA event recalled above, Woods had attended with his then newly married wife, model Elin Nordegren. The media had gone to town with it.

By 2009 the relationship had broken down and a year later his divorce was finalized. Many of his sponsors broke ties with him and left.

Between 2014 and the early part of 2018 everything appeared to outsiders to go wrong with him. In 2015 he putted so badly at one point one reporter said he ‘played like an amateur’. But a recovery was in the offing

By August 2018 he emerged 2nd in the PGA Championship and later won the Tour Championship.

Then Sunday came.

Woods had remained focused till now. He knew what to do. And he did it! The most emotional aspect of Tigers Wood’s victory was when he hugged his little son, Charlie, after walking off the 18th.

It was in the same manner his dad had hugged him after he claimed his first major in 2005. The crowd roared. The image of a loving father and family man was publicly restored.

The following five lessons can be gleaned from how Tiger Woods used Re-focusing to repair his image:

  • Reiterate your objective(s): Woods spoke about still wanting to play, even though he admitted he wasn’t doing so well.
  • Relax when necessary: there was a time he took a short break. But that didn’t see him quit.
  • Carry your followers along: Woods was open about his plans.
  • Be realistic but modest: while on his restoration journey Tiger woods was not flippant or boastful about his plans to bounce back.
  • And finally, constantly re-focus: Woods re-focusing ability is why he is celebrated today. He came out of the rough of life to make another incredible win. At 43 and after such a long break from winning big, no one gave him a chance. His image of an excellent golfer, a loving father and a man of the people bounced back to the front burner again.

The author (third from right in the photo, white hat with blue band) is here seen standing behind Tiger Woods with other media men while the golfer is being interviewed during the 2003 Presidents Cup held at Fancourt George, South Africa.

Anthony Olabode Ayodele (Chart.PR) is the CEO of Ideas Concepts and Products (ICP Media). He is a member of the CIPR Education and Skills Committee and an Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing IDM CPD Award three times 2017, 2018 and 2019 recipient.

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