Image: Keith Allison/Flickr

So Tiger’s gone.

He’s taking an indefinite leave from the game to hopefully repair his family and a smidgen of his public image.  As much as I’ve been disgusted with the media coverage of Tiger’s downfall, the story itself is pretty disgusting as well.

I really don’t know many of the details. And I’m not lying about that. I honestly don’t care. All I know is that Tiger apparently had a lot of women on the side. Whether it’s one woman or a dozen women, Tiger has some serious infidelity issues.

One sponsor (Accenture) has already bailed. Woods is nowhere to be found. And the sport of golf is finding itself in a nightmare situation. Just a few months ago, I wrote a post for Armchair Golf about how the PGA Tour needed to develop a plan for the post-Tiger era. They’ve found themselves in this situation much earlier than I imagined.

While I hardly believe Woods will be gone for long (in fact, I still think he’ll play at Augusta), Tim Finchem and the Tour is going to get another small sample of what life without Tiger will be like. I think it’s going to be ugly. Ratings will suck. He’s a nice guy, but Phil Mickelson can’t carry the PGA Tour.

Regardless, the game goes on. And it is a great game. Golf existed before Tiger, and it will carry on when he’s gone. Granted, on a smaller scale. Tiger Woods is one of the world’s most recognizable figures. And, his personal life aside, what he has brought to the game of golf is immeasurable. He’s changed the game forever.

And, if you don’t mind, I’m going to take a brief spiritual turn here. As the media, the public, and pretty much the entire world throws stones at Tiger, I will just say that the whole situation makes me quite sad for his wife, his kids, his mother–and, yes, even Tiger.

At the foundation of my faith, Christianity, is grace and forgiveness. And while I can’t put myself in the shoes of anyone close to him–none of us can–I will say that I’m not going to sit back and lob bombs at the man while he is down. I’m sure his wife has unleashed hell on him–and deservedly so. More sponsors may drop him–and deservedly so–because image equals money in their world. And the media hasn’t had a field day like this since O.J. Simpson.

A cute little blog post making fun of Tiger would only add to the white noise. I’ll leave that to the tabloids. I think he deserves a second chance at some point, assuming that he actually recognizes the extent of the mistakes he’s made. And I think he does.

Let’s hope Tiger gets his tattered personal life back together and returns to the game soon…for his own sake. In the meantime, let’s hope he receives a little grace and forgiveness along the way.

Related: Tiger Woods: The Blurred Line Between News And Gossip