Interesting that Nike has launched a new ad with Tiger Woods narrating a Roger Federer bio. In addition to being friends (and hence the inside joke in Tiger’s crack at the end of the commercial), one of the things that Woods and Federer share is the fear they induce in otherwise near-equivalent competitors.
But Tiger, while unarguably an incredible golfer, is less fear-inducing among competitors than he used to be, not least because of his recent fades in the U.S. Open and Master’s. To keep people fearful you have to fairly regularly do fear-inducing things.
More on Tiger’s eroding fear factor here, but the general subject of fear in a competitive context is an interesting one. Many times, whether in business or in sports, people cede the field before walking onto it.
For those of you with a scholarly bent, some more reading here.