Tiger Woods withdrawing from golf to work on his family problems was a brilliant maneuver. He went from a place where any person from pundit to straphanger who was able to put together a cohesive sentence tried to outdo each other in efforts to revile him, but now root for him to succeed. America loves second acts and soon the clamor for him to return to golf will be deafening.
Initially, Woods violated P.R. 101 — you must get ahead of the story not like Woods, bleeding day after day in the nation’s media, becoming the subject of late night TV comics, and standing by helplessly as paramour after paramour popped up. His, what charitably could be called, love life became like a bakery: “Take a number. Next.”
Woods makes (or made) approximately $117 million a year from golf, but $100 million of that came from endorsements. These will ultimately be toast — all of them. From what the ladies in question explained, he could not even become a spokesman for condoms.
His surviving endorsements could not drop him now since they are in the midst of advertising campaigns, not to mention possible backlash from still-remaining fans, and there is, of course, the folk myth of not hitting a guy when he is down (tactically, it is probably the best time). The companies will wait until the termination of the contracts — nowadays sports endorsement contracts are of short duration and they all have moral clauses — elsewise they would face the wrath of pious shareholders from the Midwest (or wherever piety dwells) at annual shareholder meetings.
Woods tried to buy peace, by upping the ante on another front — his wife — to buy her silence, but he miscalculated the serial appearances of different women (one wonders when he got the time to play golf). But Jackie Mason explained that Clinton could spend 20 minutes committing adultery, and he had the rest of the day to be President.
People fail to understand that an adulterer’s business is adultery. It is not an addiction and not a sickness; it is a character flaw. Doctors tell alcoholics trying to break the habit to remember how ill and sick they felt the morning after. Adulterers feel fine the morning after. They had exercise and adulation and no conscience to trouble them.
The future: Mrs. Woods will hang on for another two years to reap the benefits of a pre-nuptial agreement that has now been transferred into a post-nuptial agreement. Tiger Woods will go back to golf and adultery (perhaps more selective and secretive in his choice of partners) and the public will suffer from their usual communal amnesia.