Everywhere you look, people have an opinion about Tiger Woods and the reports of his scandalous infidelity. The story bumped everything from war to the White House party crashers off the front pages, drawing more attention than most other national stories, and proving the significance we as a society place on sports and its stars.
Tried and true Tiger fans will vilify the media, saying his personal life is no one else's business. However, let's face it, Tiger is more than an athlete, he's an icon. More than a golfer, he is a businessman, spokesperson, philanthropist and, whether he likes it or not, a role model.
One of the most famous and recognizable figures in the world, anything Tiger does is newsworthy; that's what has made him such a marketable commodity.
It makes you wonder how he ever thought he could get away with such outrageous behavior, reportedly on multiple continents, or how he managed to stay under the tabloid radar for so long.
Now the impact of the initial blast has passed, and the fallout has begun on several fronts.
Tiger's announced "indefinite break" from professional golf will have a profound impact on the sport as a whole. Television viewership dwindles when Tiger is not in a tournament field, as evidenced from the break he took for his 2008 knee surgery. That translates to sponsorship dollars for the PGA, which has to be scrambling to brace for the inevitable Tiger-less tour drop in attendance and media ratings.
Sponsors are re-thinking their relationship with Tiger, once the darling of he advertising world. Would you want to receive a Tiger Woods hat for the holidays? Would you give one to someone you love? These are questions corporate executives have to be asking as they re-tool advertising campaigns featuring the now-tainted Tiger.
As a professional golfer, Woods may not have asked for worldwide fame, but he certainly didn't turn down the fortune that came with it: millions of dollars in endorsement deals went with his clean-cut image. With those kinds of business decisions comes responsibility to his sponsors and business partners, not to mention the responsibility he bears as a husband, father and son.
Certainly, there had to be a tremendous amount of pressure on this young, handsome, rich and successful superstar, and with it, obviously came irresistible temptation, but Tiger knows he has no one to blame but himself for the road that lies ahead.
We are a society that places our athletes on pedestals; the higher the pedestal, the farther than can fall. However, we are also a society that forgives the repentant and allows our heroes to re-invent themselves.
Hopefully for Woods' family, sponsors, charities and the sport of golf, he can get his life and career back on track, but Tiger will never recapture the magic he once had.
This Superman's kryptonite was his own character.
Kellie Goodman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.