It doesn't matter how well Tiger Woods plays during non-major tournaments any more.
Woods will forever be judged by how many majors he wins, and until he breaks his five-year majors drought, he'll never silence his doubters.
Are you a believer or a doubter when it comes to Woods breaking Nicklaus' majors record?
Really, it's Woods' own fault.
He's the one who declared his intentions from the start—he has always made surpassing Jack Nicklaus' 18 major championship titles his No. 1 goal and focus.
He then set a standard nobody (not even himself) could live up to by winning 14 majors in 12 years—including an insane run when he won five of six majors between the 1999 PGA Championship and 2001 Masters.
There was never anything wrong with his goal or the declaration. But now that it's been five years and counting since his last major championship victory, nobody cares that Woods has already won four tournaments in 2013 and seven in the past season-and-a-half.
The only thing that matters right now is that Woods was once again denied his chance to win major title No. 15. For every passing major Tiger doesn't win, his goal seems to slip further and further from his grasp.
Of course, it certainly didn't help that Woods put together his worst career performance in a major this past weekend at the 2013 U.S. Open, as noted by ESPN's SportsCenter:
Tiger Woods finishes +13 (4-over 74 today), the worst finish in a major championship in his professional career.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 16, 2013
Heck, at this point, Woods could win the AT&T National in the final weekend of June by 10 strokes and people would still say, "Yeah, but how's he going to do at The Open Championship?"
Woods is judged by a different standard than any other golfer in the history of the sport. He set his own standard, and it's up to him to live up to it.
Up next for Woods is the 2013 British Open—also called The Open Championship—where he's won three titles. The last time Woods won the Claret Jug, however, was way back in 2006. Since then, he's been cut once and has posted two other finishes outside the top 10, having missed two (2008 and 2011).
Based on the way Woods has conquered all his other challenges throughout his career, it's hard to imagine him not winning another major sometime in the near future.
Once Woods wins No. 15, nobody should be surprised to see him go on a run. At the age of 37, it's not inconceivable to imagine Woods could bounce back and beat Nicklaus' record before he turns 40.
In the meantime, however, his doubters have a lot of ammunition against him.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78