Presently situated in the second year of what's being referred to as "˜the deepest slump of his career', Woods didn't scare anyone last week in Atlanta. He looked lost, not fearless. The swagger was missing, his driving wayward at times and absent were the renowned "˜Tiger' roars to set his mad crazy US fans base alive.
Make what you want but its being reported that CBS' TV ratings were 4% down on the previous year. You have to think the missing in action Woods was a factor. That's despite this PGA Championship being an absolute rattler of a tournament that had everything you could want.
Even though it was no-names atop the leader board, Sunday's final round had as much drama as any other major with eagles, shots landing in the water, triple bogeys, holed bunker shots, long birdie putts and a riveting three-hole playoff with Keegan Bradley coming from five holes behind in arguably one of the best comebacks ever seen in a major.
The only thing missing in the equation was Woods and his ever threatening presence of storming home to send shivers and the application of pressure amongst any of the lesser names in the field that were leading. That intensity and anticipation was clearly lacking in Atlanta.
Speculation about Woods' erratic play the past two seasons originally had zeroed in on his psyche. From there, the blame shifted onto his work-in-progress swing and then the very real problem with his legs.
In response to the endless media inquisition as to the obvious question that begged the answer, Woods was saying it was his revamped swing that was responsible and that it was taking some getting use to.
"It's frustrating, because my shots don't shape like they use to," said Woods at last Friday's press conference.
"I don't shape the ball as much. I'd aim left for a fade and it doesn't move, it moves about a yard or two and I'm used to having it cut a lot more than that. My draw also use to move a lot more. So it's hard for me right now to aim closer to flags or closer to where I want the ball to end up. I thought I was beyond that."
Last week marked only the third time Woods missed the cut in a major as a professional. More troubling might have been Woods' demeanour over his final few holes on Friday. Woods simply lack spark and was uncharacteristic in his interaction with those around him.
As his drives deflected amongst the woods that surround the fairways at Atlanta Athletic Club, missing were the trademark temper tantrums, Tiger's head simply slumped into his chest, his long time mate and current caddie, Bryon Bell, left to pick up the club that had found its way casually to the ground.
There were little or no exchanges between them, Woods was operating in his own cocoon of self destruction and looked anything like the Tiger of old. A Tiger which at a click of a switch could generate enough electricity to ensure that Sydney International Airport never experienced another blackout.
No doubt Woods is out of sync and isn't close to being the player who dominated for more than a decade. Anyone can see that, even Woods. But being dominant again should not be the focus, let alone his views on Steve Williams' remarks after Adam Scott won the WGC Bridgestone the week before in Akron, which were constantly raised during his press interviews in Atlanta.
The focus is whether he can be formidable again, winning tournaments, making a run at a record 19 majors.
Woods claims that he's fit again. Some question that and view that he's still playing injured with that dicky knee.
If he can remain healthy and use the time to practice with his coach, Sean Foley, you should't doubt that he be back better and stronger. The game needs Woods and Woods needs the game.
Woods loves the money and all the trappings that goes with being the best. He also loves to win and they're motivating factors.
Regaining his previous form will not be easy.
There's a new wave of young guns making their mark who don't fear Woods like many of his colleagues have in the past. This new contingent of top young talent like Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy and our own Jason Day, are displaying more grit than the generation he so easily disposed of.
There are a lot of golfers who fail to ever re-emerge from mid-career slumps. David Duval and Michael Campbell are some that comes to mind. Yet it's hard to classify that Woods was ever in a real slump. I would put it more like going through a winless drought period.
Since mid-November 2009, shortly before the infidelity scandals began breaking in the media, Woods has been winless worldwide for 21 months, the longest streak without a title of his professional career.
Sure the former world number 1 hasn't won since he lifted that crystal like ball trophy at the JBWere Masters in Melbourne. Lets also not forget that his bum leg also kept him out of the last two majors.
Missing the cut at the PGA Championship means he's finished outside the top-125 for the FedEx Series and has the next five weeks off on the PGA Tour, unless he plays the Fall Series. Speculation was that he's eyeing off playing in Asia en-route to Australia, but that's yet to be confirmed or denied by the Woods camp.
Woods now claims that he's fit as ever, time will only tell whether his 35-year-old body can sustain the rigours of being on tour and the constant grind associated with practice and playing. He certainly does looks as fit as ever.
Before leaving the Atlanta Athletic Club after missing the cut in a major for just the third time, Woods said, "Now I have nothing to do but work on my game."
Those who doubt the words of a champion do so at their own peril. It's clear Woods is hungry to win and that in itself should send shudders amongst his fellow players on tour, even the younger generation, particularly now that he's got some time on his hands.
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