A few weeks ago this blog raised questions about the wisdom of using celebrities in advertising, particularly in the wake of Tiger Woods’ rapid fall from testimonial grace. Yesterday the Tiger Redemption Tour (soon to be part of the PGA Tour) reached a milestone with the announcement that he would resume his golf career at the Masters this April. It’s a tournament he’s won four times in the past. One could almost hear the champagne corks popping at ESPN, which will be covering the opening rounds when Woods makes his first appearance.

Now this is not really a surprise. Commentators began prophesying at the very start of the scandal that the Masters, with golf’s most respectful and quietest gallery, would be the ideal major for Woods to begin his comeback. And does anyone doubt that the ratings will break records… especially if Tiger is in the running to post a win on Sunday? Such is the nature of celebrity in our modern, media-focused age. The term was once used to identify a person who was celebrated for his or her achievements. Today it merely indicates some level of awareness on the part of the media—for reasons good, bad, or incomprehensible. Take Paris Hilton, for example.

Presuming that the rehabilitation of Tiger Woods proceeds as laboriously planned, will there again be a time when sponsors want him to be connected with their products? I think there will be, although the field of likely companies and products will undoubtedly be quite limited. This assumes, of course, that he avoids further transgressions. Considering the universal presence of cell phone cameras, the paparazzi, and the voracious appetites of supermarket tabloids, he’d better stay far away from any woman that isn’t a blood relative or his wife.

So, I’d love to hear what you think would be a possible testimonial sponsorship for Tiger Woods in the not too distant future. If we get some goods ones we’ll post them here.

In the meantime, let me leave you with a bit of parodied, doggerel verse, along with some very deep apologies to William Blake.

Tiger! Tiger! Burning Bright!
In media’s glaring light
What ill-advised indecency
Could generate such misery?

On what shapely cheeks and thighs
Burnt the fires in your eyes?
With what lust, what blind desire
Did you become a bald-faced liar?

What curvaceous barroom tart
Could cloud your mind and steal your heart?
How many times was your love free?
You couldn’t stop at two or three?

What a scandal! What a stain!
In what orifice was your brain?
How many acts of indiscretion
Resulted in your sad depression?

But will the Masters offer proof,
Should ratings penetrate the roof,
How tenuous the line can be
Twixt public fame and infamy?

Tiger! Tiger! Burning Bright!
In media’s glaring light
Will continued links success
Make us forget this horrid mess?