Tiger Woods' continued descent from global sporting stardom to the pits of mediocrity became all the more apparent this week as he slipped outside of the world's top 100 ranked golfers.
Falling back to 104th in the rankings, not since September 1996 has Woods ever been placed outside of the top 100.
It is this further decline to his status within the game that poses the question, should he seek early retirement and avoid continued embarrassment, or risk further destroying his once untouchable legacy.
Having last been placed as world no.1 in May 2014, Tiger has since seen his form drastically erode. Suffering from ongoing back injuries he has failed to replicate any kind of winning momentum from the past, and appears in free-fall from the golfing pinnacle he once stood at.
Although his fall in rankings is partly due to the fact that he hasn't participated in any tournaments since withdrawing from the Farmers Insurance Open in early February, it was only a week before that event that the 14-time major winner recorded the worst round of his career, scoring 82 to place last in a 132-man field.
Recent showings like this make it hard for one to remember the man who was once considered to be not only the greatest of his generation, but possibly the greatest to have ever played the game.
Backed to go on and break all of golf's most prestigious records with ease, a cumulative stretch of 683 weeks spent at world no.1, including a consecutive spell of 281 weeks, show the extent to which Tiger dominated the sport. His era of supremacy showed no signs of fading as he collected major wins as if they were handed out like prizes at a fairground.
Yet, since the well publicised reports of his extramarital affairs sparked a rapid decline in his playing ability, he has looked a shadow of his former self. The tragic sight of Woods struggling out on the course failing to even make the cut was once so unthinkable, but now it seems to be all the more frequent.
It can be compared only to that of a journeyman boxer, who fights on past his prime taking inevitable punishment with each outing in the ring, unaware when to throw in the towel. For a man who was once heralded as the biggest name in world sport, that used to conquer all that came before him, surely there can be no joy gained from such lacklustre performances of late.
Whilst the end of his supreme dominance brings about a newly found competitive age within golf, nobody enjoys seeing a former champion languishing in the depths, scrapping to stay afloat.
Should Tiger seek an early retirement?
Perhaps it is already too late for Tiger to exit the game with his reputation unharmed, but the longer he continues to meander into obscurity, the more faded the memories will become of the man who was once considered without doubt to be the best.
With the upcoming Master's just a week away, it remains to be seen whether or not Tiger will reappear hoping to emulate his past success.
Reports this week stating that he has been spotted out practicing on the Augusta course would appear to suggest that Wood's will indeed feature in this year's tournament. However, with the risk of yet another poor showing, perhaps golf's fading star would be best advised to sit this one out and call it a day on his illustrious career.
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