He had the press conference. He tried his best to look sorry. For a while, it seemed to be working.
Tiger Woods was getting back to the business that made him everybody's business. His golf game was looking rusty, yet still world class at The Masters.
And then the wheels fell off that masterful PR wagon.
The New York Daily News reported Friday that Woods told his wife Elin that he may have been with up to 120 women. Even with that revelation, the two were seemingly working toward a reconciliation.
It's the one that Tiger didn't mention that may be the downfall of the Woods empire.
Elin reportedly heard of the affair with next-door neighbor Raychel Cordriet on the news. She confronted Tiger about the 21-year-old by phone while Tiger was at a post-Masters dinner with pals.
That call did not go well, nor have any communications since.
Now, with his golf game coming simultaneously unhinged, the questions are running wild as to how Woods will rebound from here.
Let's tackle some of the on-course and far-from-course issues involved.
Yes, this time it appears to be far more than tabloid rumor.
Woods apparently met with famed divorce lawyer Jeff Fisher. He’s the legal eagle that negotiated the final terms for golf legend Greg Norman, who paid his wife Laura $105 million after getting caught with hand in Chris Evert’s cookie jar, so to speak.
Yeah, it's not the Tennessee Titans head coach. But this Jeff Fisher has a knack for super sizing settlements.
He represented the wife in the Jeff Gordon breakup and reportedly scored ex-Gordo Brooke a smooth $15 million payday—though that seems a little light considering all of "The Rainbow Warrior's" wins and endorsements.
Something tells me she's still managing to live comfortably.
Fisher is reportedly working to get both Woods and Nordegren on the same page among the myriad of issues.
The magic eight ball points to no, and all because of this somewhat ordinary looking 21-year-old who was reportedly devastated by Woods' two, three, and 15-timing.
The National Enquirer reported that Raychel Coudriet and Woods had sex in Tiger's office in Orlando and then were seen making out in a car near Tiger and Elin's house.
Woods sent dirty texts. Shocking. The fact that Woods was so brazen to carry on right next door has apparently sent Nordegren to an emotional point of no return.
Nordegren reportedly took the couple's two young kids, Sam and Charlie, to Sweden on April 19.
There appears to be no way around it at this point, considering all the allegations appear to be with Tiger's behavior.
The legal issue isn't about proving guilt. Florida is a no-fault divorce state, meaning adultery does not need to be proven. The couple can simply file that the marriage is irrevocably broken.
This is more about PR, the prenup and, most importantly, what will keep Elin quiet so that Woods can get on with the business of being Tiger.
Woods is reportedly worth $1.3 billion, though that number has taken a bit of a hit over the last five months.
Reports are that Nordegren could come away with upwards of $650 million in a settlement.
Those close to Woods say that his play over the weekend at the Quail Hollow Championship was no coincidence.
Elin was photographed jogging in Sweden without a wedding ring. More importantly, she has the kids with her overseas.
Woods reportedly could not stop Nordegren from making the trip but is planning to fight her plans to move the kids permanently to Sweden.
Though some believe it may be best for the kids to be out of the U.S. spotlight, Woods wants to be a hands-on father and try to rectify his mistakes through the kids.
While we talk about Woods being a billionaire, that's not all straight cash, homey.
Legal experts believe that Woods will have to make a lump-sum payment to his ex-wife as part of the cash and property settlement.
So there are some around the PGA Tour that believe this might lead to Tiger playing more events simply out of financial necessity.
Others believe Woods will play more simply to throw himself into his golf and try to complete reclaim one part of his past glory.
While the focus will be on chasing down Jack Nicklaus' majors record, the more regular Tour regimen will keep him focused on his game and less focused on his mistakes.
The other major theory being thrown around is that Woods simply can not keep up the public facade any longer. Insiders believe he is an emotional wreck and that he may retreat from golf all together.
Those that know Woods the competitor believe this is unlikely, given Tiger's tenacious will to compete.
But as the stories of mistresses only continues to grow, some close to Woods and his mother believe that he may leave the game to save his family from the constant shame that playing a tournament brings upon the Woods name.
If Friday was any indication, Woods may be leaning toward less play. Tour competitors like Nick Faldo called Woods out for straight-up quitting during his second round back-nine at Quail Hollow.
If Woods can't keep it together and compete at his highest level—the bar he set for himself—then why play at all?
Electronic Arts was one of the few sponsors to stick by Woods through the initial fallout. But even they decided to put Rory McIlroy on the cover of "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2011" (by the way, that's looking like a pretty good call after Quail Hollow, huh?)
EA says the move was done to highlight the new international competition aspect of the game.
Come on. Tiger's Tiger. He's been moving product all by himself for years.
Endorsement experts say this is just a sign of things to come. They point to Kobe Bryant—the previous bar setter for public sports humiliation for a superstar—and say that Woods can certainly be a top earner again.
But the days of $100 million in yearly endorsements are over. Think more around $40 million as best-case scenario.
Of course he can. The worst mistake we make as sports fans is to underestimate the power of a superstar to overcome adversity.
This is some pretty heavy lifting. The snickers will be there every weekend.
The media that's been playing by his rules all along is taking pleasure in sticking the knife in where they can.
He'll never have public opinion back in his corner when there's a Phil Mickelson for us to root for on the links.
If he chooses to play his way through this mess, it's safe to say that Woods will find a way to make a run at the majors record.