10 Career-ending Affairs

Tiger Woods and Pretty Much Everybody
Tiger Woods and his wife, Elin Nordegren, at a sporting event on Nov. 21, 2009 -- just days before the cheating scandal broke © David Madison/Getty Images

Our old friend the National Enquirer first asserted Woods' affair with nightclub manager Rachel Uchitel on Nov. 25, 2009. Two days later, at 2:30 in the morning, Woods crashed his car in a spectacular way, and by Nov. 30, he'd released a vague statement regarding "private matters" and, citing his injuries, he dropped out of his own charity golf tournament [source: Seal].

Two days after that, US Weekly released an alleged voicemail he'd left for a mistress, and he gave a statement admitting to "transgressions," refusing to further dignify the details. A third statement, less vague this time, followed on Dec. 11, as more and more women came forward to say they, too, had been intimate with the golf star.

Sponsors -- Accenture, AT&T, Gatorade, General Motors -- dropped the famed golfer completely; others waited out their contracts with Woods in whatever way they could, and he lost his column in Golf Digest magazine. Within the month -- note, again, how fast the turnaround is getting -- a study was released estimating that shareholders in Woods-associated companies had lost between $5 billion and $12 billion thanks to his affairs [source: Goldiner]. As to personal loss, the scandal also cost Woods his marriage and a substantial settlement payout -- $100 million [source: BBC].

It's interesting: The more male- and sport-demographic endorsements, like Nike and Gillette, knew he would retain his professional cred, and kept him on, while the businesses that traded on his reputation and personality, like TAG Heuer and American Express, cut Woods loose. Fewer people wanted to be like him, in the wake of the scandal, which by now has faded his star so much it's hard to remember just how beloved a figure he was, and for how long.