Forget the budget gridlock. Forget President Obama's poll numbers or Michele Bachmann's verbal gaffes. Forget, for a moment, all of those weighty issues.
Something historic is taking place right before our prying eyes: Tiger Woods's career is threatening to implode. Woods is only a few major golf tournaments away from topping Jack Nicklaus and establishing himself, unquestionably, as the greatest golfer in history.
But it's looking more and more like he won't make it. This is astounding. Just a couple of years ago, Tiger looked like a lead-pipe cinch.
Is the problem his bad karma stemming from the horrendous publicity after reports of his marital woes surfaced? Did he make a mistake by taking time off from the sport to try, in vain, as it turned out, repair his personal life? Is he still injured and feeling the effects of his various aches and pains?
Are the other young players on the tour not intimidated by his legend and showing that they, too, are pretty good and not willing to stand in Tiger's large shadow at the major events?
It's probably all of the above, though, at his best, Tiger would have stared down a real tiger on his way to winning the coveted green jacket at the Masters. He never worried about the competition. Now he has to worry about everything.
It's a sad story when the world watches a sports star declining in public. New York Yankees longtime stalwart Jorge Posada, who owns four World Series rings and personified the franchise's gritty, winning ways for more than a decade, recently celebrated his 40th birthday by sealing a Yankee loss when he struck out in the top of ninth inning against the Kansas City Royals, with the bases loaded.
Posada made the game's final out as he stood there helplessly with the bat on his shoulder. Hopefully, that awful image is not how baseball fans will remember a once-great warrior.
And if Tiger, whose most recent wave of negative publicity involved his parting of the ways with his longtime caddy, doesn't pull it together, he may be remembered for the bad times, not the stunning string of dramatic victories.
Is America still rooting for Tiger or have we had enough of his antics?
Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column.
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