The vultures are circling around Tiger Woods' corpse.
The doubters say that he may be past his prime. His supporters are starting to waver a little bit.
Common perception may be that Tiger needs a win at Firestone this week in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational. He has won the event seven times, a PGA Tour record for wins on one course.
Surely this is Tiger's best opportunity to get back on track. If he loses at the course he has dominated more than any other, isn't that proof that maybe he is past his prime? Isn't that the worst thing that could happen to Tiger?
Not so fast.
In fact, a Tiger flop at Firestone this week might be the best outcome for his career long-term.
Right now, Tiger is still living on his past success. People still think he is the world's best golfer. Some people still throw out the phrase "Tiger against the field."
Those people are dwindling more and more as the weeks pass. With a loss at Firestone, most of those people will be gone. They will stick a fork in Tiger.
And you know what? That's just what he needs.
He needs to have a true wake-up call. He needs to fall back into the shadows a little bit. He needs some time for a little reflection and some work on his game.
A win at Firestone would prolong the inevitable, and it really would mean nothing in the big scheme of things. People would say that he is back, but that would be a false assumption. In reality, Tiger winning at Firestone would deserve a big "So what?"
But reality and Tiger rarely go hand in hand these days.
Reality and Tiger need to finally meet in the middle. Reality needs to slap Tiger in the face.
Only then will he be able to truly and fully resurrect his game.
It won't be until Tiger is finally and truly counted out that he will make his surge back to the top. He needs those doubts to fuel his fire.
A loss at Firestone will bury Tiger in many people's eyes. You say that's a bad thing.
He is already starting to doubt himself and a golfer cannot win with the mental burden of doubt weighing upon him. Yeah, but the false hope that Firestone brings is much worse for Tiger.
History says Tiger will win at Firestone this week, but history has only done Tiger a disservice these days.
Reality says Tiger will falter once again.
But reality is just what he needs. It is the beginning of his path to redemption.