In our work, we spend considerable time thinking about brands. How to build or revive them, depending on the need.

Lately, I’ve been devoting more time than usual thinking about personal brands. Last week CBS affiliate KWCH TV 12 invited me on its morning program to talk about the Tiger Woods press conference later that day. As a PR professional, they wanted to know what I thought about the counsel Woods had apparently been receiving – from not speaking out for three months to not taking questions at his press conference. (Wouldn’t have recommended either.)

The Game That Counts

After Woods’ announcement Friday, I heard a number of people say (or read their tweets), “He didn’t need to apologize to ME.” They’re right. He didn’t. But expressing regret was the right thing to do.

No, he’s not an elected official. He’s a public person and the breach of trust is between him and his wife. But fans and the general public feel betrayed, too. The man they have idolized, the man they thought they knew didn’t just step down from his pedestal. He smashed it up good.

I didn’t have high expectations for the highly scripted and rehearsed announcement, but Woods said all the right things. He accepted responsibility. Acknowledged he’d let people down. Talked about how he plans to restore confidence. And said the words others often dodge, “I am so sorry.”

Woods didn’t weep. And he didn’t force his wife to stand by his side. He acknowledged that he still has work to do and he asked for help. Time will be the judge of Woods. As it is for us all.

Getting Out of the Rough

While Woods is a master of the short game, he’s taking a step back and looking at his drive. He needs to stay inside the trees and out of the water. The revelations of the past months have recast how we see him. But if he works hard and lives a life that’s honest to who he is – whoever that may be – our impression will change.

Life is a long game.