Some question why a golfer's personal life has captured public and media attention, and demand that Tiger Woods be granted privacy and the story left to die.
Here are five reasons why the scrutiny will rage on:
Corporate connections: Major companies like Nike and AT&T bet on Tiger's image to boost revenues, padding his golf income by millions more to promote products. Advertisers regarded him as the ultimate PR coup, but the image of a hardworking family man was a charade. A long line of companies hurried to promote him as a role model for children, and now begins the painful process of extricating him from marketing campaigns. Overnight, powerful or inspiring slogans turned into jokes, and calculated business decisions look foolish in hindsight. And if Tiger Woods was a loose cannon for corporate advertisers, just imagine their worries about other celebrities. Corporate negotiators and accountants will consider potential fallout from scandals in future deals.
A glimpse into the sports-charity industry: The incident opens a window into an industry where sports stars and celebrities arrange fundraisers at nightclubs and casinos, featuring alcohol, gambling, and women. At least three of the women linked to Woods claimed to have worked for such "charity organizations." Sports stars show up at lavish events to party; some funds are directed to support charities, but often an even larger portion of funds go to entertain and seduce wealthy donors. During a recession, many can't help weigh the costs versus benefits and question if such expenditures make an appropriate tax deduction.
Sudden fall from grace: Woods nurtured an image of perfection — as golfer and family man. The media treated his life story as myth, his moves recorded and revered by journalists rather than scrutinized. He carefully planned his personal life, hiding his tracks and deceiving many co-workers, friends and family members. Any who work with him must try and discern the real identity of this man.
Need for attention: The golfer grew up as a child star, his father drilling him in golf and having him sink putts on national television at the age of two. The long series of sordid affairs suggests a craving for first impressions of awe from others. Constant, fresh, and fawning admiration is impossible with a stable marriage, in which honesty is more common than gushing reactions. Child stars sometimes find it easier to please strangers than to please their parents, and are ready to move on to new relationships when the adoration fades. As adults, the child stars struggle to build balanced partnerships based on equality.
A society's failings: Sometimes an individual's troubles aptly reflect the misguided goals of his or her society, including an overemphasis on the pursuit of wealth, the challenges of income inequality, the emphasis on careers in sports and entertainment rather than science, and the mistake of thinking that mere money or fame can be a satisfying goal.
The corporations lulled us into this morality tale, and now they'll have trouble tugging it away from us.