It’s an Icarus story writ large; the man who literally had it all fell hard and fast. Of course, his biggest loss was what appeared to the world a perfect family life; a beautiful and seemingly adoring wife and two healthy children with whom he no longer has unfettered and typical interaction. It must be painful indeed to have to schedule time with your kids, even if perhaps, for Tiger, Elin was nothing more than a shiny bauble of success.
On the commercial side, Tiger saw the falling away of a seemingly endless array of substantial and extremely lucrative sponsorship opportunities. Many potentially life-long relationships have evaporated. Even a ‘rehabilitated’ image will not likely return him to the pinnacle he once inhabited.
As a person, Tiger has unquestionably been humbled. The aura of someone 100% in control and in charge of a storybook life has disappeared. Whether or not it was just an illusion is perhaps beside the point. Tiger has eaten a lot of humble pie, perhaps even more than he deserved.
But the Tiger we were introduced to, and had commercially foisted upon us to an astonishing degree for a time, was first and foremost, a competitive prodigy, the likes of which had never been seen before. Whatever the situation, Tiger seemed to find his way into the winner’s circle seemingly by sheer force of will. The pall he cast over the competitive confidence of his opponents was palpable. Without question, he scared more than a few of them into submission.
That’s gone. Tiger the Invincible is no more. His competition no longer sees him in that light. While nobody’s actually goading him, you can just tell they don’t feel that sense of menace that “Tiger’s lurking” used to conjure up. Nowadays, to my eye, Tiger himself looks somehow, mostly… just hopeful.
In the final accounting, perhaps it doesn’t matter whether it’s Tiger or his competition that no longer feels that sense of invincibility – the end result is likely the same, and permanently so.