There was a time (not that long ago) when it seemed that all that Eldrick ("Tiger") Woods touched turned to golddust. It seemed to be only a matter of 'when' rather than 'if' he would surpass the great Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 majors, as he took titles with ease and reigned supreme as world number one for a total of 545 weeks between August 1999 to September 2004 and June 2005 to October 2010. Those days seem a distant memory now, albeit that he has dipped to the rank of a mere 'mortal' in the fields of the world's golfing tournaments, just another potential winner or even top ten finisher.

That is not enough for a man as driven for success as him, a man introduced to golf by his father at the age of only two, a man who won his first major in record breaking form by 12 strokes at the 1997 Masters the year after he had turned professional. He became the youngest man to claim the career Grand Slam and the only one to match Nicklaus' three career Grand Slams. Thirteen more major titles in total have followed as he chased Nicklaus' seemingly untouchable record until his last one (so far) at the US Open of 2008.

In recent years the ongoing success seems to have slowed at least in the majors, although the (other) titles are still coming as his five victories in tournaments last year would testify to.

His off course problems with his marriage are well documented and scandalised, yet his undoubted talent on the golf course has never been undenied. However, as with all sportsmen, the years begin to catch up and what was once a matter of course becomes more of a challenge. Golfers' longevity is generally better than in most other sports, but they too have to apply more common sense and preparation as they get older.

Maintain the flexibility, do the exercises, do the routines, keep their health up to par. Woods would never shirk away from whatever was required, but at 38 some might say that his best days have come and gone.

After another weekend of interruption to his master plan for golfing immortality, as he was forced to withdraw from the Bridgestone Invitational event with spasms to his ailing back, one wonders if this is just a case of too much too soon after back surgery earlier this year or maybe the golfing gods are indicating that enough is (nearly) enough.

In his absence, the juggernaut (on current form) that is Rory McIlroy pushed on to take the event and yet again deny Sergio Garcia a title as he did in the recent Open championship. How Woods must wish he was injury free (and maybe a few years younger) to match the younger man. Maybe he can see his mantle slipping further away and towards the Irishman?

What of the future for Woods ? Well, that would depend how long term the recurring back issues are. He could opt for another sabbatical from the game to recuperate further but you suspect that 'rest' is not foremost in his thinking. If he can, you can bet he will be lined up in the US PGA championship beginning this week on August 7th at Valhalla. Maybe the 'obituaries' will be put back on hold and another scene of triumph documented instead? What price a Tiger win after all his troubles? Well, at least you might get decent odds for once!