Few people plummeted further in 2009 than golf's biggest star, who began the year as the world's richest athlete and ended it as a punch line. A mysterious car accident on Thanksgiving night shattered Woods' meticulously crafted image and touched off a frenzy of speculation over his behavior beyond the green. For Woods, the story was a nightmare; for the tabloids, it was a feast served as quickly as we could gobble it, each dish juicier than the last. As Woods stonewalled investigators, rumors that a marital rift precipitated the crash were seemingly validated by the emergence of a succession of women all claiming to have bedded the golfer. After Woods issued a tepid apology that failed to quash the ballooning scandal which included a rumored split with wife Elin Nordegren and a frightening hospital visit for his visiting mother-in-law he announced on Dec. 11 that he would take an indefinite hiatus from the links to patch up his personal life. He'd better hurry back, though on Dec. 13, the consulting firm Accenture became the first major sponsor to sever its ties with the beleaguered star.