What If Tiger Changed His Stripes?

Those “raw, never-before-seen” photos of Tiger Woods in this month’s Vanity Fair were taken by Annie Leibovitz four years ago, according to an online chat this week with Buzz Bissinger, the article’s author. 

According to Bissinger: “(The photos) were never used, which does often happen in her case, and went into her archives. When the scandal broke, she showed them to Graydon Carter at Vanity Fair and asked if he was interested in them. His eyes popped out.”

Bissinger’s article raises the question that everyone keeps asking today: How will Tiger restore his once immaculate image? But I wonder if the photos suggest a different strategy: What if Tiger rebrands? More maverick, less milquetoast. Less Gillette, more Ciroc.

If that’s truly Tiger’s character—and we’ve been seeing a facade all these years—it would make more sense for him to take this route, rather than face the impossible scrutiny of being “the perfect man.”

Sure his sponsors would change. But Nike could hold firm. (It might even benefit.) And perhaps Tiger could live more openly and honestly. Pitting the new, raw Woods against squeaky-clean stars like Phil Mickelson would also make for some great Sunday afternoon golf.