If not Torrey Pines, then where?
This was the course where he played rounds with his dad.
This was the course that was going to vault Tiger back to domination.
He would unveil his new swing and all would be right with the world.
It didn't quite work out that way. We saw what we had seen last year. Tiger Woods is a good golfer who is too inconsistent with the driver. Like most other PGA tour players, when the putts don't drop, he's going to struggle. The problem though, is not with his swing.
No longer a phenom or a youngster, Tiger Woods finds himself a 35-year-old man, struggling with himself. His world was built around golf. He was trained by his father to be more mentally tough than his opponents. He was always able to depend on his sheer force of will to get him past the competition.
Tiger didn't lose on Sunday because he wouldn't allow himself to fail. His father was still there to guide him and to provide the support he needed. He was a golfing machine who cared more about the game than anything else.
Two things changed Tiger Woods: His father's passing and Woods' marriage to Elin Nordegren.
On the one hand, he lost the guiding force of his life. On the other, he gained a major distraction in his quest to remaining the world's best golfer. The demands of marriage and father hood had to take up some of the time he previously devoted to golf.
Also, with marriage and children and the demands of golf and business, we can only guess that Tiger started to feel the walls closing in. He wasn't getting any younger and he'd always been controlled by his schedule or family demands.
Taking advantage of opportunities presented to him, he learned there was more of a world out there than he had ever known.
Maybe he practiced as he always had. Maybe he still put in the time, but somewhere in the back of his mind, he was changing. Maybe the pressures of winning all the time got to him.
In the year before his accident and divorce, Tiger had learned how to lose. It wasn't losing like others knew it. It was not closing the door on tournaments he would previously put away. Or it was not having the killer moving day that usually put him ahead for the fourth round.
There was a chink in the armour. Sure, his greatness still allowed him to win majors on one leg, but he was showing his mortal side.
With all that he's been through the last year and a half, it would be too much to expect Tiger being the dominant golfer he once was. With his wealth and advancing age, there's no reason to expect he'll ever have the same single minded focus of his youth.
Being a single man now, who's to say he's not still burning the candle at both ends?
It's possible that he could still pass Jack Nicklaus' record for Majors won, but it's no longer a given.
It's not beyond the realm of possibility that if he doesn't get back to winning regularly, Tiger may just walk away into the sunset.
It's not like he'll need to play on the Senior's Tour.
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