Tiger Woods’ Reputation Takes Beating

In the past week, professional golfer Tiger Woods’ squeaky-clean reputation has taken a major hit following his mysterious car crash nearly his home in Florida in the early morning hours of Nov. 27.

After days of speculation about how the crash may have been been instigated after Woods and his wife, Elin, argued over Woods’ having an affair, Woods finally disclosed on his Web site that: “I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart”.

There’s no doubt Woods’ image has been damaged, although it appears that none of his sponsors have decided to part ways…yet. Still, we wanted to see just how much of a hit that Woods’ reputation had taken so we used MAP, our flagship social media analytics service, to get a lay of the land.

Before the accident, the sentiment about Tiger Woods within social media and traditional media was 85% positive:

Screen shot 2009-12-03 at 9.37.24 AM

In the week after the accident, the sentiment has not surprisingly tumbled to 60% positive. What’s particularly interesting is the negative sentiment has jumped to 40% from 15%, while the positive sentiment has dropped to 14% from 49%.

Screen shot 2009-12-03 at 9.28.16 AM

In terms of the key discussion themes, the most dominant is “Grubb” – Jaimie Grubb, the Las Vegas waitress who Woods’ apparently met when his wife was seven months pregnant with their first child. A voice-mail recording of Woods asking Grubb to remove her name from her telephone’s caller ID likely prompted Woods to come clean.

There’s also a strong connection between “Grubb” and “Urchitel” – Rachel Urchitel, a New York hostess who has been speculated to also have had an affair with Woods.


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  • Interesting… Although without knowing the related demographics on the reputation change, it’s tricky to take action. Eg. did the shift in reputation and increase in negative comments come from ‘core tiger targets’ (eg. young athletic male = nike, accenture, etc.)… or did it come from random non-targets jumping on the story bandwagon (eg. recently cheated on females, judgmental conservatives, etc = non “tiger-brand” targets). Just sayin’… marketing is complex and social media monitoring has to be understood as part of a larger strategy.

  • Betty

    I am a married woman, with a family of 6. I have been hearing of this story non-stop and the point I guess I don’t get is why are all these people in the entertainment and sports industry making such a big deal out of Tiger Woods and his situation. The situation is really non of anyone’s business but his own and his family, really I think people should just worry about their own lives. I can understand peoples anger for the thought of him cheating on his wife and I feel for her; BUT why does he have to stand in front of the entire world and say sorry? Isn’t he supposed to say sorry to his wife?(Which i’m sure he has been doing) Who’s he married to the world or his wife? Leave the Wood family alone already!! I’d like to see these people who sit back and slam his reputation on t.v. come out and say sorry for everything wrong they have done in their lives. After all NOBODY is perfect and this is a private matter not a matter for eveeryone to stick their noses in!!

  • Very interesting graphs! I always like seeing automated sentiment analysis, and seems to confirm what one might think about Tiger’s perceptions in the wake of his scandal.\

    If you like, check out a similar analysis we did using our social media software. Our take was a little different. We looked to compare the number of people who would not support Tiger Woods as a result of his infidelity as opposed to those like the commenter above whose chatter is more concerned about his privacy than anything else. At the risk of being self promotional, check it out at http://blog.russellherder.com/rh_blog/2009/12/what-nike-knows-about-tiger-that-the-media-doesnt.html

    Great read!

    Neil James

  • Tiger has overcome alot these few months and of course he will be off when it comes to his concentration. Give it a couple months and if anyone can bounce back, he would be the first choice. He is the most gifted golfer on the planet and i’m confident the true sports fans can’t wait to see him get back to his dominance.