Tiger Woods is back swinging his golf clubs for the public to see — at least via social media. It's been painful to watch.

Woods had a video posted of his recent return, and last week he played five holes in an exhibition in on a course he designed in Houston, Texas. His swing looks awkward and he still appears in pain.

The world’s former No. 1 golfer who was for several years on a diligent quest to match and or eclipse Jack Nicklaus’ mark of 18 major titles, has had three back surgeries. He hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since 2013.

Woods is also now 40 years old and the world of professional golf has passed him by.

He’s no longer the savior of a game that was thriving on his name alone for a decade.

Tiger Woods Once Dominated Golf

More important, it takes a rare athlete to step away from his career while still skilled. And when they don’t, it’s embarrassing.

Remember a few decades ago when Willie Mays played a few seasons too long when he concluded his long career with the New York Mets and misjudged routine fly balls?

It was hard to watch Sugar Ray Leonard box past his prime with his eyesight in jeopardy. But he did so, and the career of excitement he brought to boxing was diminished. He defined a fallen champion.

Woods’ private life that became so public was bizarre at best. And plenty of his fans no longer cared to follow the golfer some argued was the best in history.

Many sports observers, too, looked past Woods’ infidelities. He had skills never seen before on the golf course. He dominated tournaments and entered PGA Tour events knowing everyone else was playing for second place. He has 79 career PGA Tour titles and 14 career major wins.

Television networks pandered to Woods, with nearly every announcer trying to be his friend.

Woods is still the No. 1 career leading in earnings, but when PGA Tour events begin now, the overwhelming emphasis is on a player named Jordan Spieth. He won five tournament in 2015, including two majors. And he exudes graciousness, even in defeat, like he did after “collapsing” with the lead in the waning holes of the Masters in early April.

And there are many other compelling players, Dustin Johnson to Jason Day, Rickie Fowler to Bubba Watson.

Woods rarely showcased golf's graciousness and its gentlemanly ways.

Comebacks are a welcomed tradition in sport. But Woods’ efforts have been forced, like he’s trying to prove something he can’t. He should leave competitive golf and focus on the rest of his life, like the Tiger Woods Foundation. He should practice hard at giving back to a sport that has given him great wealth and privilege.

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