These are downbeat times for Rory McIlroy. You half expect to find him in some dimly lit bar, with a guitar slung over his shoulder, warbling the Driving Range Blues. Instead, you'll find him in Korea this week, looking to get his game back on song.
Already the Far East is showing some promise. "I'm just happy to be back on the golf course and doing what I do best, and this is a nice place for a little bit of solace," said the Northern Irishman with a sense of relief as he prepared for this week's Kolon Korea Open.
At times, McIlroy must feel like a man on the run. Amid the rampant scrutiny about his lack of form, the questions involving his switch of clubs and the on-going palaver surrounding his former management group, which is now being dragged through the courts, the rumours that his relationship with the Danish tennis player, Caroline Wozniacki, is over are now rife.
"My private life is private and I would like to keep it that way," he said yesterday. Good luck with that one. In these times of unrelenting tittle-tattle, McIlroy's high-profile existence is akin to living in a petri dish that's anchored under the unflinching gaze of an industrial-sized microscope.
The seemingly bitter break-up with his management company, Horizon, after just two years of a five-year agreement, is likely to rumble on through the new season with the case set to be heard next October. The off-course shenanigans have generated more headlines than his on-course efforts of late and if any player needed a win to lift the morale then it's McIlroy.
The cash register, meanwhile, continues to go 'cha-ching.' The Korean's are reportedly paying him more than $1m to pitch up; there's another hefty sum coming his way at the BMW Masters in Shanghai, and then there's the small-matter of the forthcoming stage-managed shoot-out with Tiger Woods.
The money keeps coming but his biggest asset -his sublime, alluring golf game - has deserted him. After topping the order of merits on both sides of the Atlantic in 2012, McIlroy is winless in 2013 and he's slithered from No.1 to sixth on the world rankings. Asked if his problems were caused by mechanical or mental issues, the double major winner said: "I think it was a little bit of both. Golf is a game of confidence and if you are confident it allows you to play better and freer with a free mind.
"I learned a lot this year," he added. "I was under-golfed for the first three to four months. It's the first year I've struggled. I have six tournaments left and will finish the season strongly."
This is certainly the time of year for making a late burst for the line. Down in Australia, there is plenty to play for in this week's Perth International, the final, regular event on the European Tour's schedule. Scott Henry's failure to make the cut in last week's Portugal Masters dented his hopes of retaining his tour card and the Scot, who is precariously perched at 123rd on the money list, needs to finish sixth or higher to barge his way into the safety zone of the leading 110.
Further up the order, Craig Lee (61st) and David Drysdale (77th) can still reach the promised land of the top 60 and get the chance to dip their bread in the end of season gravy train that is the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.