Fourteen male golfers have been ranked number one in the world. Tiger Woods held the title for a total of 623 weeks. The next closest is Greg Norman at 331 weeks, just about half of Woods'.
Tiger is in a different place now. He's 12th in the world, the first time he's been out of the top ten in 14 years. An exposed personal scandal combined with nagging injuries have kept Woods from returning to form.
But maybe it's just as well for Woods. We all need a humbling experience every now and then. Tiger was at the top of the mountain for so long, he forgot about the climb that got him there. Seeing other golfers succeed must be eating at him. At his best, he knows he can beat them silly. But he's not at his best. His body is putting him in time out. And for the indiscretions he committed, it's probably deserved.
What's most unfortunate, though, is the game needs him. Sure, young stars like Ricky Fowler and Rory McIlroy are keeping the sport cool and relevant. But they're not Tiger. Nobody is. No one has since shown the ability to take over a tournament and leave everyone, including fellow competitors, wondering what just happened.
So hopefully Woods will return to championship caliber. We caught a glimpse of it during the final round of the Masters. If he can consistently perform at that level, he'll be zeroing in on number one yet again. I just hope Tiger will remember what he had to go through to earn his stripes.