Tiger Woods failed to make the cut at the PGA Championship this weekend, calling it his “worst putting week,” since his car accident just prior to the 2010 Masters. The four-time major winner, whose personal life has been in turmoil since his and wife Elin Nordegren’s divorce in 2010, said he let it get away from him on the greens.
That is not where it begins, however. The reality is that Tiger Woods hasn’t won a major in more than five years, and has only won a total of 13 times since the end of the 2008 season, a third of which were wins at World Golf Championships events (a function of the PGA Tour not really realizing how cool it would be to have a player of Woods’ caliber playing alongside the world’s best). Woods has been winless in 19 of his last 22 starts. His 42 PGA Tour events this season were his most since the 2009, and his winless streak had reached 15 events.
He will turn 40 on Aug. 24. At best, that says that he is approaching the end of the line. One of the greatest golfers of all time.
If this is it, it is disappointing. It is human nature to think that when the inevitable happens, it is a positive thing, that it means more and more that we have reached a point where we can lose on quality.
Yet, when something comes along that is the polar opposite to a champion, what does it say about what was so great? At this point in his career, Tiger Woods was the finished product. There were no second acts for him, no breaks, and no difficulty to be overcome. No disappointments, minor or major. The best was ahead of him.
The first major of the year was a disappointment, and Woods’ world ranking has not seen a single top 20 finish since. Most tellingly, as of July 31, his Sunday finishing position is tied for 64th. The first PGA Tour event of the year (The Bridgestone Invitational) had no meaning for Woods, or anyone else. In each of his tournaments since that juncture, he has fallen out of the top 100. And that is the last time he was in the top 100.