Supremely confident and always guarded. That was the Tiger Woods that we all got used to. He had a steely determination that allowed him to get to within four majors of Jack Nicklaus' record and there's hardly a golf fan alive who would have bet against him overtaking The Golden Bear back in 2008.
However, fast forward seven years and Tiger is yet to add to his total of 14 and now speculation has emerged that he may not even get another chance. Woods was speaking at a press conference in the Bahamas ahead of the Hero World Challenge event and he was in unusually pessimistic, or perhaps realistic, form when asked about his return to the game.
I have no answer for that, and neither does my surgeon.
There is no timetable, so that's the hardest part for me. There's really nothing I can look forward to, nothing I can build towards.
Where is the light at the end of the tunnel?
Woods underwent two surgeries on his troublesome back this Autumn and he has been unable to swing a golf club since. A return in 2016 could not be confirmed and when asked what he was able to do to help get back to the game, Woods was not exactly overflowing with positivity.
I walk and I walk. I'm just walking, and that's it.
Given the nature of those answers, it's easy to see why thoughts have turned to whether Tiger's career is effectively over. He looked to be getting back to his best in 2013 but injuries have hit hard in the past two years and he's never looked further away from the top of the game.
The emergence of Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy have certainly contributed to that and the County Down man has taken to social media in the aftermath of Woods' comments to discuss his 'idol'.
Woods has been a polarising figure for many years but fans of the game the world over will surely share those sentiments from McIlroy. Even if you're not Tiger's biggest fan, his presence has changed gold for the better and to see that come to an end would be highly regrettable.