ORLANDO, Fla. – Over the course of history, has an organization ever so completely misread an athlete, his personality, or his less-than-forgiving background?
In an astoundingly ham-handed attempt to use the lurid sex scandal involving Tiger Woods to bring attention to animal-control issues, PETA plans to use the golfer’s likeness in a billboard ad placed in his hometown – though it has not secured his permission.
A mock-up of the ad was featured in the Orlando Sentinel, along with the message to be featured on the proposed billboard: “Too Much Sex Can Be A Bad Thing … for little tigers too. Help keep your cats (and dogs) out of trouble: Always spay or neuter!”
PETA hopes to place the billboard in the Windermere area, near where Woods lives. Virginia Fort, who is associated with PETA, told the newspaper, "We're sure Tiger will appreciate our attempt — from a story that's distracted the world and followed Tiger — to turn it into something positive for little tigers," she said.
She obviously somebody hasn’t done much homework.
Woods has repeatedly and fiercely defended the use of his likeness, particularly when others have made money or tangible gains off his name or reputation. So it’s hard to envision him allowing the use of his photo to make a joke out of his increasingly sticky personal life, right in his hometown.
Off the top of my head, I can think of a billboard in Michigan that attempted to use a caricature of Woods that was eventually removed. In another instance, when Woods’ management learned that a USGA website that was selling photos of Woods from the U.S. Open for hundreds of dollars, the offer was removed almost immediately.
"It's a fun, tongue-in-cheek approach. We hope these billboard companies will understand," Fort told the newspaper.
The full story and billboard likeness can be seen here: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news
Woods’ spokesman didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment from CBSSports.com. Just an educated hunch here, but Woods will play tournament golf again before this billboard ever sees the light of day.
Woods has no ties to PETA and has not sanctioned the ad.