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As part of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs, these 12 Southern California fellows are engaged in a full-time, nine-month, graduate-level leadership training program that prepares individuals for public-affairs leadership.

Gossip on a massive scale

What is it that brings Americans to the point of obsession over whether or not a leader had an affair? When President Clinton was impeached over what was essentially a marital misstep, a British friend of mine was flabbergasted at America's outraged response.

The idea that the sexual conduct of any leader is our business is fairly new. What would have happened if we'd obsessed over Roosevelt's mistress? Eisenhower was said to have had an ongoing affair with his driver. There has been speculation that JFK and Jackie both stepped outside the bonds of marriage. Who cares? Does it make our victory in World War II any less important? Does our interstate highway system suffer from it? Did Kennedy's response to the Cuban missile crisis save fewer lives? No.

In my opinion, we talk about it because of our all-too-human need to gossip, and through interactive mass media, we've found a way to gossip on a massive scale. Twittering about Tiger's affair is entertainment. Let's not elevate gossip to the level of discourse by pretending his private life has any impact on our own. -- Liz Willis

Shooting out of the Rough

Other than the menacing, still-unidentified golf club allegedly used in Woods' accident, the recent news on "Golf's CEO" has few details actually connected to the sport. Perhaps that's a sign that Woods' infidelity has no bearing on his role as golf's icon.

Before we force Tiger Woods alongside Mark Sanford, John Edwards, and Bill Clinton on the haggard alter of marital infidelity, we should recognize the differences in our understanding of public leadership positions. The power we give to our political leaders requires that we feel we can trust them. Therefore, when we evaluate a political leader's qualifications, their character can be just as important as their talent. However, the golfing community didn't elect Tiger Woods as de facto CEO because of his strong belief in family values. Almost single-handedly, Woods drove golf from a meandering afterthought in America's sporting consciousness to one of the most popular sports in the world. His talent, not his character, is what propelled him to become golf's most important figure.

Despite the news's glorification of the story, Tiger Woods' infidelity has few implications for the golfing community or the common good. His decision to deal with the situation as a father and husband, and not as "CEO of Golf", reveals who most deserves answers: his family. -- Lanre Akinsiku

Recovering from the Sand Trap

Tiger Woods now feels the anxiety of leaders who fall into the sand trap of being human. This is a story that has been heard many times, both in the sports world and the world of public affairs. Tiger is now in the company of once seemingly superhuman figures President Clinton, Mayor Giuliani, Kobe Bryant, and even to an extent Marv Albert.

Tiger failed in his role as a leader by not understanding that his role goes beyond being a golf champion. Leaders in Tiger's position should know that every one of their actions matter. He is a symbol, a representation of the potential of human kind to transcend barriers and excel.

Tiger's best option in the coming months is to do what he does best: WIN IN GOLF. Clinton was able to recover much of his image through work after his presidency, Giuliani rallied New York City during 9/11, Kobe helped bring a gold medal back to the United States and a championship to the Lakers, and Marv Albert continued doing sports broadcast with his specific flare. While there are many expectations of a leader, a leader still has a specific job that requires his or her talents and skills. Life doesn't give many mulligans, but Tiger can still recover by focusing on what made him great in the first place. -- Jimmy Duong

Damaged Goods

When a product is on the market, there is a responsibility of the maker to ensure the quality of that product.

When Toyota was recently notified about malfunctions in the gas pedals and floor mats of some vehicles, they recalled the floor mats, issued a public statement of responsibility and sought to fix the problem. Without any of these timely actions, Toyota's public image could have been destroyed, ultimately resulting in economic losses.

Tiger, on the other hand, failed to properly represent himself in the face of public scrutiny. Like damaged goods that remain on the market far too long after known defects have been publicized, his image, finances and those he represents are all at stake. It is past time for a recall. -- Ashley Nesby

By Coro Fellows

 |  December 8, 2009; 2:31 PM ET
Category:  Making mistakes Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Protecting Tiger, Inc. | Next: 'Be like Tiger?'


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RE: Jimmy

I definitely agree, Jimmy. There is a distinction between the public and those who are under the spotlight on a day to day basis. Unfortunately, there is a shift in how we look at those outside the spotlight and those in it. To ignore this can be limiting, for the public and the individual.

Posted by: claytonrosa | December 10, 2009 12:42 PM
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re: Shooting out of the Rough

Good points. When a political figure has a "youthful indiscretion" it may very well limit his or her ability to continue as a politician. However, these alleged incidents involving Tiger do not make him any less skilled at what he does best.

Posted by: miraclemcclain | December 9, 2009 5:21 PM
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Lanre: "Perhaps that's a sign that Woods' infidelity has no bearing on his role as golf's icon."

Not only does it not change his role as golf's icon, it does not chance his ability to golf.

RE: Damaged Goods, what is the difference between Woods' product (great golf) and his brand? More than a recall, the American public and those who look up to Woods need to reevaluate what he should be expected to deliver.
Recall? What, should we take Woods' off the market? Short of him committing a crime and going to prison, nothing he does off the green should change his game.

Posted by: posterX | December 9, 2009 12:25 PM
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But on the other hand under no circumstances should there be even a breath of cover-up! Anything but that, for the Post's sake.

Posted by: AmericanInterestsFirstandLast | December 8, 2009 11:10 PM
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re: "Damaged Goods": I think a distinction needs to be made between those goods whose brand is intentional (Toyota), and those "goods" whose brand is a byproduct of their success (Tiger).

Also, what would a "recall" of Tiger Woods actually look like?

Posted by: neetaso | December 8, 2009 5:24 PM
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I would agree with Ms. Willis' assertion that we are in a gossip-obsessed nation. We can see that the market forces have spoken- Tiger's major sponsors (with the exception of Gatorade as of now) are sticking with him. This would seem to imply that the companies feel the investment in Woods is still worthwhile.

Posted by: psobhani | December 8, 2009 4:59 PM
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