Tiger Woods has failed this season.
He has failed by his own standards. When he competes on the PGA tour, he defines his success by one criteria—major tournaments won.
Woods did not win any of them. He did not do well in the Masters, and after competing well in the first two rounds of the U.S. Open, British Open and the PGA, he fell apart in the final two rounds. He still has 14 career major victories, a total that has not moved since winning the 2008 U.S. Open.
Case closed, bad year. Right?
In case you haven't noticed, Woods' name is atop the PGA money-winning list. Through The Barclays tournament, he has won $5,039,158 (source: PGA.com). That's better than Rory McIlroy, Jason Dufner, Bubba Watson and Zach Johnson.
Woods has also won three tournaments on the tour this season. No other golfer has won more than two tour events this season.
Woods has an excellent chance to win the FedEx Cup Playoffs. If he does that, and then competes well and plays a role in the United States coming out on top in the Ryder Cup, you would have to say that Woods is having a memorable year.
It's clearly a success already. He may be unhappy that he has not won a major, and he might even argue publicly that major tournaments won are the only thing that matters to him, but he has to feel good about what he has accomplished this year.
That disaster came to light late in 2009, and he did not win a tournament in 2010 or 2011. Many of his critics simply said that Woods was done and he would never be a dominant golfer on the tour any longer.
By any standards other than winning a major, Woods has shown he is closer than he has been in a long time to being back.
Woods has entered 16 events to this point in the year. In addition to his three victories, he has one second-place finish, one third-place finish, six top-10 finishes and 10 in the top 25. He has made the cut in all but two events.
Woods' game is not in peak form, and he has shown a tendency to struggle late in tournaments. He will probably need to work on his play around the greens and his putting if he is going to be successful in the majors next year.
But with everything he has accomplished this season—including leading the tour in scoring average (69.02) and fifth in total driving—the 2012 season has been successful for Woods.
He's not going to come off his public stance, but getting back into the winner's circle multiple times means that winning majors is once again a real possibility.