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Tiger Woods: a lost, sorry soul who was once invincible

Golfer incentivised a generation of the worlds best players, but odds on his returning to form have never been longer

At the peak of his powers, Tiger Woods was a golfer who dominated all before him. He hauled his sport into a fresh commercial landscape before injury and loss of form meant he could no longer compete with the best. When he began to toil on the course perhaps even more so than when he was recording stunning achievements as standard he became captivating viewing.

The cause for this was twofold: People found it difficult to believe that this sporting genius, the winner of 79 professional events and 14 major championships, who was the worlds top-ranked player for an unprecedented 683 weeks, could fall so far in a short space of time. Woodss demise hasnt been a slow-burner; he had a five-win season as recently as 2013. The other pertinent factor was schadenfreude; the marital infidelities which put Woods on newspaper front pages in 2010 and tarnished his reputation and many were delighted to see him fail.

This week, Woods would surely rather millions of television viewers watch him perform like a club golfer, instead of seeing the footage of him that emerged from the Florida police department. The 41-year-old Woods was again in sharp focus: staggering and slurring at the roadside in the middle of the night, having been found asleep at the wheel of his damaged Mercedes. In the police report of his arrest in the early hours of Monday, Woods is described by police as cooperative but confused.

A breath test registered a blood alcohol level of zero, and Woods insists his condition was caused by prescription medications, as he recovered from the fourth round of surgery on his back since 2014. Woods is due to be arraigned in Palm Beach County on 5 July.

Suddenly, Woods is at his lowest ebb, with the dire extent of his condition a shock to everyone.

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