TODAY | November 27, 2010
>> to tiger woods . it's been exactly one year since that mysterious early morning crash outside his florida home. since that moment, everything changed for the golfer, and the way the wolf views him. here's nbc's mark potter .
>> reporter: in the year since his plunge into international scandal, tiger woods ' life went from bad to worse as he was ripped apart publicly. but now, he says, he's turned a corner, and feels much more balanced.
>> amazing, you know, how much better i feel internally each and every day. how thankful i am to have the connection that i have with my kids, and people who mean the most to me.
>> he's almost been freed or unshackled by a lot of this stuff. it's ironic such a terrible thing would lead him to feeling this good about himself.
>> reporter: until a year ago woods was on top of the world , a billionaire golfing great, flush with endorsements and championships. but then came a 911 call at 2:25 a.m . in wind mere, florida.
>> what happened? what's wrong?
>> i have a neighbor, he hit the tree.
>> reporter: at first, it seemed a routine car crash .
>> tiger woods has been in an accident. his suv ran afoul of a fire hydrant and a tree in the wee small hours of the morning. right outside his house.
>> reporter: but soon there were questions, then lurid claims that woods, a married father of two, had a wide range of extramarital affairs , igniting a tabloid frenzy, and destroying his carefully crafted image as a family man. woods lost millions of dollars in endorsements. and many claim he wasn't forthright about what he had done, despite his public apology.
>> i am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and self-ish behavior.
>> reporter: in the months to come, he and his wife elin divorced. she receiving a reported $100 million settlement. meantime, woods' golf game suffered dramatically.
>> a lot of tiger's not winning in 2010 has to do with the emotional struggle that he went through.
>> reporter: a struggle that woods says has now made him a better person and that many fans hope could eventually lead to a comeback. for "today," mark potter , nbc news, miami.
>>> and joining us with more this morning, cnbc's sports business reporter ard courtney hazlett, todayshow.com's pop culture correspondent. darren, if we're going to look for a way to measure the come back, look at the number of ads he's been in this year so far, about $700,000 worth. a year ago this time, $70 million worth.
>> clearly, carl, the fact that he did not win really impacted him as an endorser. not only did he lose an estimated $25 million in deals, and he lost the ability to forever say, i'm the guy who's untouchable. don't worry about your brand. and i think that was big, electronic arts sold their game with his name on it. sales are off about 30%. and nike couldn't bring him back because he just didn't win.
>> you recently did an interview with his agent who said he expects to see him back in the mainstream in 2011 . how likely is that?
>> well, i think that there's going to be companies that are going to, you know, want to go forward with him. i think nike's obviously stuck around for a reason. they think he's going to be the number one player in the world again. they think he can win again. the question is, mark steinberg, his agent, told me he's going to get endorsement deals and there's one on the way. who is this tiger woods that you're now investing in? and do you pay a discount versus last year, obviously the year before all this happened.
>> courtney, there'ses business side and then there's the personal side. some of the rumors that he is now beginning to date around a little bit.
>> there are rumors but they're also very convenient given that this is the one-year anniversary. rumors would surface saying he is seeing women again. i think one of the big mistakes tiger is making right now is he's talking about his feelings. i mean, nobody wants to hear about tiger's feelings. a lot of people's feelings were hurt here. we don't care that you've grown or whatnot. we want to see a good golfer. at the end of the day he's got to win.
>> he did this interview with espn. he's written the op-ed for "newsweek." he is tweeting now, which there are a quarter million followers.
>> someone who should not be allowed to twitter. if he couldn't handle the text messages, tiger woods , twitter might not be the best forum to be reaching out to your fans. not only that, and i'm joking around a little bit, but the tweets that he's actually doing are saying, thanks for all the love, fans. no, we're actually following you to see when you make a mistake. not necessarily because we love you. it's turning limb into a caricature of himself.
>> and i think it has to be genuine. if he's going to go on twitter and tweet, he's been ribbed all along for the fact that what he's saying, what's coming out of his mouth, is that really him? or is that someone putting words in his mouth, because it is the strategy to recovery.
>> how about this game, just his golf game as it is, first year without winning a major championship ? in order for this comeback to be complete does he need an award? does he need a trophy?
>> i think so. i mean, we wrote his comeback story. we said, america needs to forgive. and they will. but they won't if he's not the same player. we can't get our minds off what happened. so he's got to win, and he's got to win like he did before in order to be the tiger woods that we once knew.
>> he's got the added problem of his apologies not ringing sincere with some people. you argue in order for his comeback to be complete that's got to change.
>> that's got to change. he has to actually seem sincere. i think the doushl-edged sword was the fact that tiger was so private earlier, now that we're hearing this personal side of him, it doesn't seem really genuine. had he been genuine with his personal life leading up to this, we'd have something to compare to. but right now all we have to compare it to are all the mistresses.
>> amazing as one person said, the higher the reach, he was so successful, the decline makes it all that more remarkable.
>> i don't know if he's ever going to get back to that point.
>> i think another thing that has to happen is elin has to move on, maybe get married. and everyone once they see she's okay, because at the end of the day , it was his family that got torn apart is what everybody was so angry about. not because he didn't play golf as well as he used to. but because he tore apart this family unit. if she's okay, tiger's going to be okay.
>> it's been a crazy year with lebron james . people say that they hate lebron james more than they hate tiger woods . why? because lebron did something to you. he didn't go to chicago. he didn't go to new york. he did something to you. tiger just did something to himself.