“Unfortunately,” he said Tuesday, “the longer you play the sport, the more things like that happen.”
So maybe he’s catching up on lost time.
Or maybe Father Time is catching up with him.
Johnny Miller, in a book he wrote in 2004 titled, “I Call The Shots,” was making arguments on both sides of Woods breaking Nicklaus‘ record of 18 majors. One reason against Woods breaking the record was that “competitively, he’s an old 28.”
Is he now an old 38?
Woods already has gone through four knee surgeries, including a reconstruct in 2008 after he won the U.S. Open (which happens to be the 14th and last major he won).
He was right to say Tuesday that “I wouldn’t read anything into what happened Saturday at Torrey Pines.”
It was just one tournament. One round.
Remember, last year Woods missed the cut in Abu Dhabi (with help from a two-shot penalty) and then annihilated the field at Torrey Pines the next week. He couldn’t finish the final round at Doral in 2012 because of soreness in his Achilles’ heel, and then won his next start at Bay Hill.
But let’s go back to that last knee surgery.
Woods had never finished out of the top 10 in his first tournament of the year through 2008, including six wins on three courses (La Costa, Kapalua, Torrey Pines). In the six season-openers since then, he has no wins, two top 10s and three times didn’t make it to Sunday.
How much work did Woods put into his game in the 45 days between his last round at Sherwood and his opening round at Torrey Pines? Woods is the only one who can say how he prepared, and after 18 years on tour, how much he felt like he needed (or wanted) to prepare.
Miller, however, wasn’t referring to Woods‘ health when he wrote 10 years ago that he was an “old 28.” His hunch was that Woods‘ prime had arrived early, and that “it won’t be long before the hole shrinks back to its regulation 4¼-inch size.”
It sure seems like a long time since Woods stood over an important putt and there was no doubt it was going in.
Woods is playing the Dubai Desert Classic this week. In six previous trips, he has won twice and has finished out of the top 5 once - that was in 2011, again when he was in the early stages of his work with Sean Foley.