05
Jan
10

Tiger Woods and Phil Ivey – a lesson in media management

It has emerged recently that Phil Ivey, one of the best and most famous poker players in the world, has been granted a divorce from his wife Lucaietta.

Phil Ivey with ex-wife Lucaietta

This news marks a sour end to a productive 12 months for Ivey, who won two World Series bracelets and reached the final table of the main event in Las Vegas.

Ivey’s nickname is ‘The Tiger Woods of poker’, and many commentators will be afforded a wry smile at these recent developments coming to light so soon after Woods’ own marital problems.

However – unlike the American golfer – Ivey may feel he deserves more privacy during what is hardly likely to be an easy time for him.

Comparisons will inevitably be made between Ivey's divorce and Woods' marriage to Elin Nordegren

Throughout his career, the California-born pro has made efforts to separate his private life from his professional life, so as not to put any unnecessary stress or attention on Lucaietta or indeed on his parents.

Consequently, any biographical article on Ivey will focus on his numerous poker achievements, and many will say this is the way things should be.

It therefore seems unlikely that fans or outside observers will delve too deeply into his marital situation.

Tiger Woods has lost a number of sponsorships, including a multi-million dollar deal with Gillette

Some might say that Woods is undeserving of the criticism and media attention which has come his way since allegations of unfaithfulness first surfaced.

But the fact is he has – through signing up to multi-million sponsorship deals with the likes of Gillette and American Express – set himself for public scrutiny.

In contrast, the one major endorsement deal to come Ivey’s way is his involvement with Full Tilt Poker, and it is stretching it a little to even call this an endorsement deal.

Instead, I would argue that it is more comparable with Woods’ deals with Titleist and Nike, whose relationship with the golfer fits in with his professional life.

And, to go one step further, Ivey’s position as one of the Team Full Tilt partners arguably alters his association with the company to an altogether professional relationship, in that any promotional work he does directly benefits a group to which he belongs rather than an external party paying him to indirectly boost its own bottom line.

Ivey's relationship with Full Tilt Poker will remain unaffected by his divorce

Some might argue that poker is an easier profession in which to keep a low profile, as its popularity is yet to reach the same heights as golf and other more mainstream sports.

But let us compare Ivey to his namesake and counterpart Phil Laak, whose relationship with Family Guy actress Jennifer Tilly is well-publicised.

Indeed Ivey himself is well-known worldwide, yet by distancing his wife from the poker world he has kept her out of the spotlight.

Jennifer Tilly and Phil Laak, arguably poker's most famous couple

Furthermore, few golfers’ wives are as well-known as Woods’ other half Elin Nordegren: despite no outward efforts to put her in the public eye, their relationship was reasonably well-documented even before the recent developments.

And, while Woods has arguably taken his sport to new heights in terms of popularity and TV viewing figures, such advances have not forced his counterparts at the top of the game to generate such a high media profile.

Although Woods’ supporters might argue that the press are responsible for the attention given to his private life, it is a two-way system and the likes of Ivey have shown that – if you don’t want anyone delving into your life away from the green grass or green felt – you can make every effort to ensure you get this kind of privacy.


Of course, I would never wish ill fortune on anyone away from the sporting arena, even if I may cheer against them on the field of play.

But I think the respective cases of Woods and Ivey are useful in showing the realms of golf and poker – and the sporting world in general – that there are two ways of going about your business.

And, in an analogy which resonates with the professions of both men, when you take risks you have to be prepared to take the rough with the smooth.

Advertisements

1 Response to “Tiger Woods and Phil Ivey – a lesson in media management”


  1. February 7, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Hey, I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!…..I”ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Hi I’m Tom. I’m a freelance journalist, and I recently completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism at Cardiff University. In my spare time I like to play, watch and talk about poker. I hope you enjoy reading my blog.

RSS pokernews.com latest stories

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Phil Hellmuth’s tweets

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Daniel Negreanu’s tweets

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

%d bloggers like this: