PR PLAY OF THE WEEK: Tiger maintains an image par excellence

FT. BRAGG, NC: The Army has a long history of taking in young Americans who are down on their luck. Its latest recruit doesn't quite fit that description, unless, of course, you consider earning millions and millions of dollars while dominating a major sport and then marrying a gorgeous Swedish model hard times. No, Tiger Woods' decision to endure four days of basic training at Ft. Bragg, NC before hosting a junior golf clinic there next month is all about dealing from a position of strength, at least in image terms.

FT. BRAGG, NC: The Army has a long history of taking in young Americans who are down on their luck. Its latest recruit doesn't quite fit that description, unless, of course, you consider earning millions and millions of dollars while dominating a major sport and then marrying a gorgeous Swedish model hard times. No, Tiger Woods' decision to endure four days of basic training at Ft. Bragg, NC before hosting a junior golf clinic there next month is all about dealing from a position of strength, at least in image terms.

The announcement came as Woods began an attempt to win his fifth straight Bay Hill Invitational, which is only so impressive in one of the most successful careers in sports history, one that includes four straight majors, beginning with the 2000 US Open, five consecutive Vardon Trophies, awarded for the lowest scoring average on the tour, and five straight Player of the Year awards. Like any star, he has sustained minor dings to his image here and there, but overall his brand is vibrant. And that's precisely why his Army outing is such a strong PR move. Not only does it help out a good cause - children's golf - and allow him to salute his Army veteran father, who actually trained at Ft. Bragg, but it does so when US servicemen and women are in harm's way. "It's an honor to walk in my father's footsteps by training with the servicemen and women at Fort Bragg,'' Woods said. "I have enormous respect for our armed forces and am thrilled this experience will include a junior golf clinic for these soldiers and their families.'' Woods' signing up, even if only for a few days, is a lesson in how to burnish an already strong public image and a reminder that even the best of images need constant tending. For this, we award the world's greatest golfer his latest honor: PR Play of the Week.

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