NO golfer generates a stooshie quite like Tiger Woods. The global game may be revelling in the exploits of a bunch of young, talented, fearless competitors at the top of the tree but old Tiger continues to move more needles than the World Speed Knitting Championship.

Injuries and surgeries, comebacks and setbacks, a WD here or a DUI there? You name it, the golfing world will pore over it with the kind of forensic detail you get in a box set of Quincy DVDs.

His latest update the other night worked plenty of folk into a brow-mopping lather.

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Asked on the eve of the Presidents Cup, where he is employed as a US vice-captain, whether it was possible he may never compete again, he said: “Yeah, definitely,” before adding that “I don’t know what my future holds.”

We’ve not seen the best of Woods for a long, long time but we’ve certainly glimpsed the worst of him. Once again everyone – including the man himself – is now asking “have we seen the last of him?”

Given the ravages inflicted on his body by years of pushing himself to the limit and beyond, and the subsequent surgical pokings, proddings and probings that have tried to repair the seemingly irreparable, there finally seems to be a realistic acceptance of his fate where once there was always defiance. If it is the end, then Rory McIlroy will afford him a rousing send-off. Like many of McIlroy’s generation, Woods was the inspiring figure who stirred the senses and fired the ambitions.

“Look, if he doesn’t play again, he’s been the greatest player that I’ve ever seen,” said McIlroy after making a decent start to his challenge in the British Masters yesterday with a three-under 67 at Close House.

“He probably played the greatest golf that anyone in my lifetime has seen. I didn’t really see Jack [Nicklaus] play. Jack has a better record but I don’t know if he played better golf.

“Only he knows whether he can do it and he’s taking it very slowly. I spent a bit of time with him over the past few months and he’s waiting on his doctors to tell him when he can do things again.

“He’s going to take their advice and not be maybe quite as stubborn as he was maybe back in the day.

“But if this is it, he doesn’t have anything to prove to anyone. He can walk away from this game with his head held extremely high and he’s done wonders for this game.”

McIlroy continues to wind down his own season and the relatively carefree approach to proceedings brought its benefits.

“I feel like I’m not under any pressure to perform at all and that’s probably the reason why I shot a decent score,” he added.