Tiger Woods may be coming off one of his worst outings at a major in his career, but he will bounce back.
The 37-year-old struggled mightily at the 2013 U.S. Open over the weekend, ultimately posting a 13-over-par 293. In majors where he's made the cut, it was his worst score in relation to par in his entire career.
In his final two rounds at Merion Golf Club, he went a combined 10-over par.
But there are two reasons in particular why Woods will come roaring back.
For one, the law of averages.
Heading into the 2013 U.S. Open, Woods had five top-10 finishes in eight PGA Tour events this year, including a tour-leading four victories. He had more wins by mid-May than he did in all of last year, his bounce-back campaign. He also ranked first in scoring average and sixth in putting (strokes-gained), per PGATour.com.
Given the recent success Woods has had dating back to last year, it's perfectly reasonable to call his performance at Merion a simple speed bump—that is, he went through an experience every golfer in the world goes through at some point in the year. When you look at the big picture, he has as many victories in June as 2012 victory leader Rory McIlroy did in all of last year.
Second of all, I didn't like Woods' chances heading into Merion, anyway. While his putting game gave him a chance to succeed at the course, Merion figured to exploit his biggest weakness—his driving accuracy.
Woods has never been a particularly accurate driver. He ranked 53rd in driving accuracy last year, per PGATour.com, and that was the best ranking of his career in that category. He ranked 127th in driving accuracy this year before the U.S. Open.
As we were warned and eventually witnessed, Merion is where inaccurate drivers go to suffer. Heck, there are six different types of grass on the course.
The disappointing finish by Phil Mickelson down the stretch Sunday was a perfect example of a poor driver getting eaten up by Merion (Mickelson ranked 161st on tour in driving accuracy heading into the tournament).
While Woods struggled more than I thought he would at Merion, it didn't exactly shock me that he tanked, either. It was one of those cases of a course not matching a golfer's style of play.
Woods finished 21st at the U.S. Open last year, then went on to win his next tournament (AT&T National). I wouldn't be surprised if he followed up a letdown with a victory this year. The law of averages still works in his favor.