Unfortunately, it may be tough for Woods to put things right. Giving up golf for the good of his family was a massive sacrifice that even the most disappointed fan could appreciate, but it doesn't seem to have satisfied his wife. Elin Nordegren reportedly has consulted a divorce attorney and allegedly plans to leave Woods after the holidays. If Woods can't produce a mended marriage, he'll have to find some other way to persuade fans -- and potential sponsors -- that he deserves a second chance. Here's how.
Regardless of whether Nordegren leaves him or not, Woods would be smart to take a break from the limelight. Assuming he wants to rehabilitate his brand and not just fade back into private life, he'll need some time for sober reflection. Getting away from the scrutiny of the public and the press will give him a chance to work through whatever personal issues drove him to his downfall.
One of the most important elements of making an effective apology is taking the necessary steps to ensure that nothing similar ever happens again. Woods will need to take those steps so that if and when he returns to golf there won't be any reruns of the last two weeks. Neither his fans nor potential sponsors would stand for it.
Woods also would be wise to remember that he's not the only famous figure to fall from grace; he could learn from two other men who successfully rehabilitated themselves after similar stumbles. Charming British actor Hugh Grant publicly apologized and took a time out after getting caught with a prostitute, and was soon back on the big screen. More recently, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer resigned in disgrace after getting caught with multiple prostitutes, and left public life for a while. But Spitzer quickly returned, reinvented as an expert on business ethics, a topic he knows inside and out.
What saved Grant and Spitzer was not only their willingness to step up and publicly apologize, but the inherent talent that made them famous in the first place. Whatever questions one might have about Woods' judgment, his talent is undeniable. It won't be long before his fans are clamoring to watch him play again.