When Tiger Woods sits down to write his memoirs in later life, the first two thirds of his book will tell you the fascinating tale of how he developed from a child prodigy into a sporting behemoth.
By Rob Boulton
Coached by his hugely talented and sports obsessed father Earl, Woods was appearing on US TV shows from the age of 2 to showcase his golfing prowess – and went on to fulfil every ounce of his astonishing potential.
Winning all manner of junior and amateur titles, Woods was tearing up record books from such a young age his hands must have been ravaged by paper cuts.
Reading those chapters will provide an opportunity to reflect and appreciate just how much this man has achieved in the game of golf, dominating a sport which frustrates the life out of most who foolishly attempt to conquer it!
His pinnacle will be the 281 weeks he spent as world number 1 from June 2005 to October 2010, and across that decade he owned the sport – breaking record after record.
His muscular, athletic frame changed the physical mould of the modern professional golfer. He could hit the ball longer, straighter and into more golf holes than anyone else, and try as they might nobody could stop the Woods machine.
Woods used sports scientists, psychologists and anybody else who could give him an edge – and there was a time where it seemed his mere presence at an event was almost enough to guarantee him the victory.
Carrying such an aura must have been incredibly powerful, and with sponsors and golf fans falling over themselves to get a piece of the Tiger money machine – he must have felt invincible.
The final chapters of the Tiger Woods story may turn out to be even more captivating, depending on just how honest he chooses to be with the world – and quite where his golfing career goes from here is the gripping finale every good book must have.
For in November 2009 the machine was revealed as a flawed human being, just the same as you or I – as revelations about his private life rocked the world.
Those stories have been told many times in many places, but the real fascination comes from whether this magnificent golfing icon can ever rise back to the top of the game he once ruled.
For as Tiger has started to re-build his life and golf career – a new, younger breed of golfers have come through, inspired by him, but more than ready to take their place as the head of the pride.
He no longer hits further, he no longer hits straighter, and his aura is gone. These feisty young cubs will always respect their elder as they’ve been correctly educated – but they also smell blood and their chance to take his place.
And yet even as we watch him miss another fairway, duff another chip shot or roll another 8-foot putt wide of the hole – there’s a curious fascination as to whether this great sportsman may just be strong enough to be a champion once more.
For that to happen Woods will need to re-perfect all areas of his game, and hope his damaged back can stand up to the strain of top competition.
It may just be that his time has passed and nature is taking its course in finding the next golfing champion, however if we know only one thing about the man that is Tiger Woods – it’s that he won’t give up fighting until he hits his very last golf ball.