Players Championship 2012: Don't Read into Tiger Woods' Performance

Josh MartinNBA Lead WriterMay 14, 2012

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 12:  Tiger Woods of the United States looks on from the ninth hole during the third round of THE PLAYERS Championship held at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 12, 2012 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

What's wrong with Tiger Woods?

Plenty probably, though little of it, if any, should have anything to do with his performance at the Players Championship this past weekend.

Tiger finished in a tie for 40th, at one under par, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. and was never so much as in the running. While Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler and Luke Donald were grinding their respective ways toward the top of the leaderboard, Tiger was busy bouncing back from a less-than-thrilling Thursday to make the cut, if only to spend the weekend treading water.

Now, it would be easy to slot Tiger's latest performance into the well-established narrative of the 14-time major champion still struggling to find his way. It would fit all too perfectly with the notion that he's lost any semblance of confidence or momentum in the aftermath of his win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Since then, Woods has twice finished 40th and once missed the cut (at the Wells Fargo Championship).

So what's wrong with Tiger, then?

With regard to the Players Championship, probably nothing more than the course on which he played this past weekend. Woods has won the PGA Tour's most lucrative event on just one occasion (in 2001) and has managed to crack the top 10 there only once in the last decade.

This time, at least, Tiger managed to finish all four rounds. In 2010, Woods bowed out with just 11 holes left to play on account of a neck injury, albeit on the same weekend he went before the world and gave a mea culpa for his rampant extramarital philandering.

As though he owed the American public an apology for the goings-on in his personal life.

Last year, Tiger returned to TPC Sawgrass with a laundry list of physical problems, the sum of which forced him to withdraw after all of nine holes.

In a way then, Woods' performance at this year's Players Championship should be looked upon positively. He made the cut, played 72 holes and managed to stay healthy throughout.

To be sure, these are only moral victories for a man who's won 72 times on the PGA Tour.

But when you're the Tiger Woods of 2012, I suppose there's little choice but to accentuate the positive, particularly when its so difficult to eliminate the negative on account of it being so abundant.

What's wrong with Tiger? Maybe that he's not Tiger, but rather Mister In-Between.