Larry Elder

"Tiger's finished."

"Define 'finished,'" I said to a friend in response to her assessment. Will Tiger Woods lose endorsements? Yes. How many and for how long remain open questions. Has the carefully groomed image of the contented family man who "has it all" gone supernova? Absolutely. Will he lose his wife, given her public humiliation and her shattered trust in her husband? Strong possibility.

But the history books are full of Act Twos.

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Woods is a golfer. He is neither politician nor pastor. As he struggles to deal with his apparent inner demons/self-loathing/shame/embarrassment/dishonor, he can still golf. The curiosity factor alone means stratospheric ratings for his next tournament, especially if he's still contending on the final day. People unable to spell "golf" will tune in for his next event.

As bad as all of this is -- especially for his wife -- Woods hasn't killed anybody, at least that we know of. The more bizarre things become -- the growing number of alleged mistresses, his mother-in-law's hospitalization, the recklessness of his behavior -- new revelations may start producing diminishing returns in shock value. People will wonder whether he's a really rotten guy with a phony stage-managed image or a really sick guy who "needs help."

A friend and I recently watched a professional football game. The announcer mentioned a stellar player. My friend said, "I like him. He's amazing." I said, "Still standing, after being tried for murder." She thought I was joking. "And," I said, "he pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for lying to the police." We Googled it. He not only lied to the police but told others to do so, as well.

Former President Bill Clinton is the only elected president ever to be impeached. He pleaded guilty to contempt of court for lying under oath and temporarily lost his law license. Does Clinton draw down the window shades, only to venture out under cover of night to go to the ATM? Please. He blamed the Republicans, who wanted to "overturn elections." Defenders said, "Everybody lies about sex." Had the Constitution permitted it, Clinton could have won a third term.

When Clinton first ran for president, he admitted on "60 Minutes" having had "problems with his marriage." People interpreted this to mean an acknowledgment of previous cheating with a promise to sin no more. But he did. He lied to the country about it. He lied about it under oath. Today he strolls around the globe, an elder statesman whose opinions are sought out and somberly considered.


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.