On the eve of the 2019 Masters, Tiger Woods received the US Golf Writers' 'Ben Hogan Award', given to a player who overcomes handicap or serious injury in the game.
The award - named after a nine-time major winner who came back from almost dying in a car crash to win the 1950 US Open - recognised Tiger's return to form after multiple back surgeries. In his acceptance speech, he gave the writers a glimpse of the struggles endured in making that comeback.
"Golf was not in my near future or even distant future," he told them of his predicament after a third operation on his back, two years earlier.
"I knew I was going to be part of the game," he said. "But playing the game? I couldn't even do that with my son, Charlie. I couldn't putt in the backyard."
Four days later, Woods had become the biggest story in sport, claiming his fifth green jacket and 15th major win, 11 years after the last.
In scale, Tiger winning big again out-ran golf itself. But, in scale, everything about Tiger Woods goes to another place.
Hence, the breaking story of his Los Angeles crash, flashing as a news-line across the bottom of TV screens around the world, would have stopped people in their tracks, just about everywhere.
For the last quarter of a century, even a banal event in Tiger Woods's life can be a month-long storm of images in the media world. But it works the other way too. So much about you gets reduced to epigram. The scale of celebrity ultimately becomes reductive, dehumanising.
Having recently undergone a fifth back operation, Woods was interviewed as tournament host of the Genesis Open in LA on Sunday evening. He came across as relaxed, if a little detached, to sportscaster Jim Nantz chasing clarity on his chances of playing at Augusta this April. None was given, but Tiger didn't sound pessimistic.
It was while driving a sponsored SUV, Genesis Open decals on the door, that he had Tuesday's accident, suffering serious leg injuries as the car rolled multiple times.
Yesterday, Co Down star Rory McIlroy indicated he believes thoughts of Woods resuming his career should not be "even on the map at this point".
Asked if Woods, who was already sidelined following his fifth back operation, could recover, McIlroy said: "He's not Superman.
"He's a human being at the end of the day and he's already been through so much so at this stage everyone should just be grateful that he's here, he's alive, that his kids haven't lost their dad."
He added: "I think we're all sort of heading towards that day that Tiger wasn't going to be a part of the game. I'm not saying that that was soon. Before this accident, he was rehabbing a back injury and hopefully going to come back and play this year.
"Hopefully he comes back and is able to play, but if he's not, I think he'll still be a part of the game in some way, whether it's obviously his design business and his foundation and hosting golf tournaments."
Lucky to be alive, according to those who pulled him from the wreckage, Woods will know how quickly the golf world will now turn to romanticising the idea of him doing what Hogan did 71 years ago.
In a sense, his life has always been like that. Always a rolling movie script. He came to the world's attention as a black man changing golf's reach, but hardly doing it with a revolutionary spirit. Tiger was a country club golfer, his personality moulded by conditions of privilege. If his skin colour made certain claims to individuality then, his message studiously denied it.
A black kid in a white sport; the son of an African-American father who was a career soldier and an Asian mother who was a devout Buddhist; but always an athlete on message.
Mostly, his public pronouncements have been reliably corporate, safe and unadventurous, any desire to politicise what he was doing being met with bland resistance. He was never motivated to storm the walls of class and colour, you see. Never driven to be golf's Colin Kaepernick. For him, conformity has always seemed a kind of comfort blanket, his view of the world always communicated on terms that were jarringly narrow.
But that, broadly, is professional golf too: the players mostly logo-splashed cliches, stone-faced and fixated endlessly with tiny, technical swing adjustments and the quality of their hotel suite and courtesy car.
The great ones become almost fictionalised and, no question, in the media we play our part. We remember Tiger winning the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines on a broken leg, for example, because it sounds better than saying he did so with a stress fracture.
In fact, up to the moment he drove into that fire hydrant on November 29, 2009, the Woods we wrote about was a sporting equivalent of Huckleberry Finn.
But behind the billboards was a private life of cheap and seemingly prolific deception. A world shot-through with falsity. Suddenly, Tiger's private life had him on the cover of the New York Post for 21 consecutive days, more than the paper committed to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
By February 2010, in service to Corporate America, he was making that excruciatingly awkward public apology to millions from the PGA Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. And, soon enough, listening to grandiose declarations like that of Augusta National chairman, Billy Payne, announcing to the world that he'd "disappointed all of us".
Increasingly, Tiger's world looked a hopelessly manufactured world, so many books written about him portraying an increasingly islanded figure with sociopathic leanings.
He was just 21 when he won his first Masters in 1997, the tournament viewed by an estimated 43m people (65% more than the previous year), making it the most watched golf broadcast in US history. With Butch Harmon, he won five-out-of-six majors up to the 2001 Masters, raking in millions yet paying him just $50,000 a year. Woods won 34 times under Harmon's coaching, just under 30% of his starts.
Hank Haney, who replaced Harmon, then had a 34% win-rate with Woods, specifically 31 victories in 91 tournaments.
Woods was a corporate project from day one, still too young to drink or rent a car in his homeland when securing $60m in endorsements before playing even his first round as a pro. Pressure? He won two of his first seven tournaments. In time, he would hit an extraordinary streak of 142 consecutive cuts made that began in 1998.
McIlroy held the longest current streak at 25 until failing to make last weekend's cut in LA.
Woods was number one in the Official World Golf Rankings for 667 of 723 weeks through that period. By 2009, he'd become the first athlete in history to exceed $1bn in career earnings.
But at what human cost?
In May 2017, he was arrested for driving under the influence of Dilaudid and Vicodin, both prescribed painkillers; Xanax - an anti-anxiety medication also used to help treat sleep deprivation; THC - the active ingredient in marijuana and Ambien.
Physical pain, by then, had become a constant in his life. A new companion to unhappiness. Haney wrote in his book The Big Miss: "Whenever I was with him in a restaurant or a hotel, he was eerily good at avoiding eye contact. He acted impervious to his surroundings, but it struck me that he wished it could have been different. I wondered, as much as Tiger has gained in wealth and glory, is it possible that he feels used?"
Only latterly, specifically with that Masters win in 2019, have we seen a more personable Woods, a more likeable man, especially in the emotion shown coming off the 18th green towards his children, Sam and Charlie.
There was a uniformity too in how fellow players welcomed Woods' return as a major winner last April. In a notoriously selfish sport, so many seemed almost giddy at the sight of Woods back at the top of the pile.
Inevitably, the Hogan story will now be the narrative framing debate on Wood's chances of a comeback. And if his body can sustain the long road back, few will doubt he has the mental resilience. Perversely, you see, Woods played some of the best golf of his career when his life was most out of control.
For now, the world around him narrows into the simplest, everyday patterns as he lies in a bed at Harbor-UCLA Medical Centre. Outside, the TV trucks have camped, waiting for an update. Is the greatest chapter still to be written?