I agree with you, and it's very likely that Brandel's paragraph probably influenced a marginal number of people. So, that means Brandel's unsupported opinion (for argument's sake) has wrongly convinced a few handfuls of people that Tiger cheated. That is by definition "diminished standing" and therefor an injury to Tiger, however slight.
But I simply do not care. I do not care for the drone-like consumers of opinio-journalism who simply take whatever BS they get from the blogosphere and regurgitate it to their web-pals. People who want to judge Tiger, and be taken seriously, can view the evidence for themselves. And whatever marginal number of morons who are going to take Brandel's conclusions in this piece at face value do not make up Tiger's "standing" or "reputation" in the golf world.
But now you seem to be contradicting yourself. I think you're saying that under these facts, we'll never really know what Tiger was thinking when he pulled on that twig. But, if a majority of people think that he cheated, then it doesn't really matter whether he actually cheated or not. In that case, I 100% agree--but Brandel's paragraph is not going to contribute to that consensus in any meaningful way.