So, less than a month into his long-awaited comeback, it has already come to this. Tiger Woods is not even fit enough to stage a press conference, never mind a fairy-tale return to the winner's enclosure.

Of course, many a cynic will have giggled at the announcement he would not visit the media centre at the Genesis Open on "medical advice".

Although Woods, and his camp, have played footsie with the truth on more than one occasion, one thing to which he has always remained genuine is his charity. But he will not do any promotional work at the Riviera event which supports his foundation this week, and as someone who has gone out of his way to raise attention and thus funds for disadvantaged children, that will hurt.

But that is where he is at. In pain and at a loss over what to do next.


Imagine being Woods, 41, and being told by your doctor to "limit your activities" to the extent of not being able to take a few questions, shake a few hands and pose for a few publicity shots.

Imagine hoping that you can challenge for the Masters and, less than eight weeks out, being advised that your body cannot cope with sitting on a chair for 15 minutes.

Cue the mockery merchants, with one blogger concluding that the spasms must have spread to his voice box. Except it is not funny, it is sad.

Indeed, this pathetic scenario perfectly sums up this stage of his career.

The mean-spirited cry "karma" and "hubris" and claim Woods is simply hanging on to keep raking in the contracts.

Yet ask yourself this: if you had his money, would you put yourself through all of this, through the agony and the scorn, merely to add a few more digits to your huge fortune?

Perhaps Woods will soon call it a day. Perhaps that will be the only option.

But right now he is fighting and he is losing. And that is to be pitied, not mocked.