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Charl Schwartzel’s Year – A Missed PR Opportunity?

Welcome back to The Sports Ace, where my favorite college football team never loses at home. To a team that went 2-11 last year and plays in the WAC. And ran for 6 yards the week before. And while the head coach has a seizure on the sideline. What an incredible debacle it was.

Charl Schwartzel Gets His Green Jacket (photo credit: Orlando Sentinel)

Charl Schwartzel has had one incredible year on the golf course.  It began with a win at Augusta, and a few other key top tens and now a strong run at the end of the year.  He’s the leader in this clubhouse for 2011 Player of the Year honors.  Yet, when I put my PR hat on, I might remember him more for what he did off the course than on it this year.

Consider this story: within 24 hours of sinking his winning putt in Augusta, Charl was on a plane to Malaysia to take his spot in the Malaysian Open field.  He did a few radio interviews and the usual press conferences when he arrived, but he turned down Letterman and many other media opportunities.  Turns out he tied for 11th place, a solid finish that might have been good for US $200,000 or so.

Now, I’m not going to criticize anyone for honoring their commitments and following through on their word.  I’m not even going to suggest he change his personality, which appears to be reserved and all about letting his play do the talking.  He surely doesn’t owe me a press tour or anything.  But he might have cost himself a lot of money by doing as little as he did.  No matter what the media and resulting exposure would have equated to, I am pretty convinced it would have totaled more than he won in prize money that week in Malaysia.

He could have been himself, Mr. Shy, on Letterman and the Today Show and potentially put himself in line for more excellent endorsement opportunities.  With that golden smile of his, he could have extended an image of confidence and grace to a much wider audience and further increased the demand for his services, whether it’s a charity luncheon, a graduation speech or an exemption to a future tournament.  With the year he’s having, he’d be considered a top frontrunner to replace Tiger as the Chosen One of the golf world.  Heck, he could still go to Malaysia…satellites would have enabled major media interviews or even a remote Letterman Top 10 list reading from anywhere.  Surely something could have been done so to capitalize more on such a unique earning and image opportunity. 

Yet today you’re not hearing much about Charl, except for analysis of his still-incredible golf game on Sunday golf telecasts.  Despite one of the most remarkable Masters finishes and calendar years of golf in recent memory, it seems to me like he didn’t maximize the opportunities he had while his star shined brightest. 

That’s all for now.  I’m out like the Indianapolis Colts.

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