Before Tiger Woods’ car crash last Thanksgiving and the revelations that ensued, the world’s No. 1 golfer also was one of the best-liked and most respected figures in the world. While Tiger probably still has his golf swing, his reputation may be tarnished forever.
According to the SportsBusiness Journal, Tiger was once ranked in the top 10 of the Davie Brown Index, which ranks roughly 2,400 popular figures by the trust, aspiration and endorsement they enjoy from fans. Tiger previously kept the estimable company of Bill Gates, Michael Jordan and Bill Cosby, but the golfer has since dropped into the category of Pauly Shore, Jon Gosselin, and Steve-O, the not-so-venerable daredevil who stars on MTV’s Jackass.
In terms of endorsement, Woods crept as high as the No. 11 spot, joining Morgan Freeman and Paul Newman near the top of the list. Now, he’s tumbled down to 2,250th, alongside Denise Richards, who is clearly past her prime.
Tiger’s appeal once rivaled that of Frank Sinatra and Michael Jordan, but after sinking more than 2,000 spots in that aspect, he’s now comparable to Eminem and Gary Coleman, who has a long history of legal troubles that includes an amusing appearance on Divorce Court, which could be Tiger’s next stop if he’s unable to regain the trust of his wife, Elin Nordegren.
That won’t be easy. If you ask the DBI, Tiger is about as trustworthy as Kid Rock and Andy Dick, both of whom have had numerous run-ins with the law. That’s a far cry from where Woods used to be — right near baseball legend Hank Aaron, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in 2002.
Yet, Tiger’s biggest plunge came in the aspirations category, where his potential was once considered equal to that of Gates, Steve Jobs, and Steven Spielberg. He’s since gone from stardom to infamy, following the paths of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.
Tiger also now has the company of fellow golfer, John Daly, on the aspirations list. Once among the most promising players on the PGA tour, Daly has become a spectacle rather than a star, and he hasn’t won an event since the TELUS Skins Game in 2007.
When Tiger returns to the course, it’s unlikely that he will have fallen as far as Daly did. Woods should still be near the top of the leaderboard and among the favorites in every event he enters.
In the court of public opinion, though, Tiger may forever struggle to make the cut.
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