WINDERMERE, Fl. - The first news reports were straightforward: Tiger Woods was in a car accident outside his home. The back window of his car was broken, and he was found with a cut on his head and asleep in the street. Very strange, mildly scary, especially since the first reports said he was in "serious" condition.
Details started coming out: Woods' wife had apparently broken the window of his car in an attempt to get him out faster; the broken glass had caused the scratches. Then, it came out that Woods was sleeping in his street because he had taken a pain medication.
Then the questions: how did he run into a fire hydrent at the end of his own driveway? He had to know it was there. Plus, where was he going in such a hurry? He really needed to go screaming out of his driveway at 2:00 in the morning? Something wasn't right.
It was here that the legend, the carefully constructed personality of Tiger Woods began to quickly unravel. Why was he leaving so quickly? Most likely, he had been having an argument about the allegations of cheating that were revealed the day before. Did his wife actually break the window trying to get him out of the car, or had she smashed it in anger trying to get at him?
By the time Woods came clean about his infidelity a couple weeks later, it was everywhere. He had slept with countless women, had made frantic phone calls and text messages he had sent out asking for their silence (who can forget "Huge. Quickly. Bye"?). It was shocking.
And America couldn't get enough. Here was this clean-cut golfer, one who could supposedly do nothing wrong, and it turns out everything people had assumed about him was wrong. His behavior was no different than that of many other athletes who got famous too young and too quickly, but the fact that it was Tiger Woods doing these things made it the story that wouldn't go away.
His personal life in shambles, Woods retreated into relative obscurity. He stepped away from golf to go into sex addiction therapy in a last-ditch hope to save his marriage (it didn't work). He greatly reduced his golf schedule while he tried to work out his personal life, and he didn't win a tournament in 2010. His carefully crafted image was shattered, crashed into pieces, and it's still unknown exactly how long the effects will last.
One of the proudest, most seemingly untouchable athletes of his time had become humbled. He had spent 12 years on a golf course making many people think he was superhuman, only to be revealed as someone who was all too human. And it all started when he backed his SUV into a fire hydrant.