You’re a high profile man in society and word of your philandering ways is at critical mass. You used to be the envy of your world, but now you’re slipping fast into the dregs of society. What to do? Do you endure the seemingly endless cries of journalists publicly shaming you? Or do you just grab your favorite semi-automatic pistol/prescription medication/pantyhose and rope and just end it all right there?
Damn it, man! Pull yourself together! Countless gentlemen have been in your cheating shoes before, navigating those same icy waters for years, with no one steering toward redemption better (less worse?) than legendary golfer Tiger Woods, who is about to put a pretty little bow on his return to public life. After a brief, self-imposed exile, he’s going back to business as usual. He did it, and you can too! Now, the same strategies that Tiger (and others) have used to escape their own shame are yours. This is the Tiger Woods Image Rehab Playbook.
These steps, all proven by Woods himself, will help put you on the road to social recovery, giving you the resolve you need to continue living in the limelight. All it takes is a few short months and a near-total absence of shame! Come on, you can do it!
STEP 1. DENY, DENY, DENY.
Actually, Step One should be “Don’t have a fight with your wife and then run out and crash your Cadillac into a tree,” but if you were smart enough to do that, you wouldn’t be reading this wonderfully-crafted how-to.
” Although I understand there is curiosity, the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible.
The only person responsible for the accident is me. My wife, Elin, acted courageously when she saw I was hurt and in trouble. She was the first person to help me. Any other assertion is absolutely false.”
“Of course, nothing else is going on!” Don’t load the gun for the media that are salivating to point it at your head and pull the trigger. Same goes for the police. Make them do their jobs! Because by and large, most of them are terrible at it. They don’t want to run around town and do actual work when it’s so much easier to stand out on your front lawn and speculate their brains out.
STEP 2. HIDE. LET YOUR FRIENDS DO YOUR TALKING.
With you gone, everyone else can talk about what a wonderful person you are. Let your friends and sponsors defend you. It’s also in their best interests to make you not look like a total pr-ck. Because who would want to be friends with that guy? And most of your bitter enemies won’t condemn you in public, seeing as they might be the onces that get caught with the pooty down the line.
STEP 3. RELUCTANTLY (AND BRIEFLY) CONFESS TO THE WORLD.
Now that your friends have run out of nice things to say about you, it’s time to come forward in a lavish, grandiose way Here are your major talking points:
I’M REALLY SORRY.
DAMMIT, I SAID I WAS SORRY, OKAY?
Don’t take questions. Questions are for suckers and attorneys. If you were doing steroids, you could call it a day right here. Unfortunately, you decided to inject your serum into someone else, so the road to redemption goes on. Hey, it happens. Just ask Travis Henry.
STEP 4. DEMAND PRIVACY.
However, my behavior doesn’t make it right for the media to follow my 2½-year-old daughter to school and report the school’s location. They staked out my wife and pursued my mom. Whatever my wrongdoings, for the sake of my family, please leave my wife and kids alone. –Woods, February 19th.
Step 4 is best pulled off by bundling it with Step 3. Oh sure, you might be leader of the free world or be the most endorsement-laden athlete in history, but that doesn’t make who you’re banging anyone else’s business! Tell those sons of b-tches in the media to leave you alone! Because if they don’t, you’ll probably never get any sex ever again!
STEP 5. MORE HIDING!
Wow, you’re getting good at this! Just stay out of sight and eventually all of the “experts” will peter out and the world will get sick of hearing about how your seven-figure whores bill or your dirty text messaging. Let’s make Step 5A something to the effect of “Delete all of your text messages periodically.” You can get a head start on this while you’re hiding.
Hiding is naturally easier when, like Tiger, you’re more of an independent contractor and set your own hours. Most actors (Charlie Sheen, David Duchovny) are the same way. People holding elected office? Well, let’s just say you can’t run down to Argentina at your own discretion.
STEP 6. MAKE A HALF-ASSED STAB AT RECONCILING WITH YOUR WIFE.
“She never hit me that night or any other night. There has never been an episode of domestic violence in our marriage. Ever. Elin has shown enormous grace and poise throughout this ordeal.” –Woods, February 19th.
You can’t come on TOO strongly here. Unlike that parade of b-tches that you pounded to get your rocks off, you wife already has all of your money. Play it cool. Give her space. Subtly remind her that she’s damaged goods, and that she lives in Florida, which is a no-fault divorce state, even when her husband has gotten down with enough huers to fill half of Dade County.
Just act naturally. Be the first to reach out. Tell her, “I only want to do what makes you comfortable,” because that’s what’s going to happen anyway. It just looks better when you say it. Both of you know how much control you really have (none), but if you grovel or in any way resemble a defeated man, you’ll lose what respect you need from her to rebuild your facade of a relationship.
STEP 7. WIN THE MASTERS.
People still think of Bill Clinton as a philanderer. Was it because he cheated on his wife by doing unspeakable things with a cigar and a chubby intern? Uh-huh. Was it because he lied to a grand jury to help cover it up? Nope, it’s because he didn’t win the Masters. If Tiger wins his fifth green jacket at Augusta on Sunday, he’ll go from cheater to champion in the blink of an eye.
See, nobody really wants to think of you as a cheater. Sure, it makes headlines for a while, but all the screaming and name-calling eventually wears everyone out. So after you get caught and have been raked over the coals for a while, you have to remind everyone why you were so famous to begin with. Most of us still value achievement in this country, and if you do what you do better than anything else, we’re more than willing, over time, to forget about it.
And that’s the playbook for winning back the hearts and minds of America. I hope you paid attention, and have found ways to incorporate these strategems into your own comeback. You can do it!