PGA Championship: What Tiger Woods' Meltdown Means for His Future

William PenfieldCorrespondent IIAugust 15, 2011

PGA Championship: What Tiger Woods' Meltdown Means for His Future

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    Tiger Woods opened his 2011 PGA Championship at three-under-par through his first five holes.

    Glimpses of the old Tiger showed early on at the Atlanta Athletic Club. But after an errant tee shot landed in the water on the sixth hole of the tournament, everything that could have gone wrong, did, for Woods.

    From that point on, Woods was 10-over-par, including three double-bogeys, and finished his first round at seven-over-par—the worst round in a Major Championship of his career. 

    It didn't get much better for Woods on Day 2 of the championship as he shot three-over-par, finished at 10-over-par for the tournament and missed the cut in a Major Championship for the first time since to 2009 British Open—just the third time in his career.

    The missed cut at this tournament keeps Tiger winless since the 2009 Australian Masters. So what does this mean for Woods' future?

People Will Still Question the Change to Sean Foley

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    Tiger Woods has had success with the first two swing coaches he has employed in his career as a professional golfer. 

    He won eight Major Championships under Butch Harmon and six Major Championships under Hank Haney. He has yet to win a tournament, let alone a Major Championship, with current swing coach Sean Foley. 

    The change to Foley came after Haney dropped Woods as a client in May of 2010, claiming they had a "dysfunctional relationship."

    If there was any chance of keeping Haney around, Woods would have been smart to keep him, because with what Woods was going through at the time—scandal and injury—it would be near impossible to effectively complete a swing change and be successful without the time to practice.

    It has proven to be a difficult feat, as Tiger seems to lack confidence making a good portion of his shots with the new swing.

    If Woods continues his winless streak, the switch to Foley will forever be questioned.

    Many believed, and still do believe, Woods should give his old swing coach, Butch Harmon, a call to help fix the mess that is his golf swing. 

It Will Be a While Before He Plays Competitive Golf Again

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    Tiger Woods needed to finish in the top 20 in the PGA Championship to give himself a chance at making the FedEx Cup Playoffs. That didn't happen.

    Already ruling himself out of the tournament next week in Greensboro, NC, it appears Woods will have some more time off between competitive rounds of golf.

    Failing to qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs, Woods eliminated himself from the final four tournaments of the PGA Tour season.

    It could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Woods as he now will have time to try and perfect the new swing that Sean Foley has been teaching him.

    The next tournament Woods is scheduled to play is the Australian Masters, which takes place in November.

    He likely will not play again in the US until December in the Chevron World Challenge, which is run by the Tiger Woods Foundation.

    These next couple months will prove as the true test to see if Woods can get back to anywhere near the golfer he used to be because if he shows up to the Australian Masters in November and plays the way he did this weekend, his days as a dominant professional golfer are more than likely over.  

Time Is Running out to Break Nicklaus' Major's Record

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    The missed cut at the PGA Championship ends yet another year without a Major Championship victory.

    The last Major Championship victory for Woods came at the 2008 US Open when he defeated Rocco Mediate in a playoff.

    At the age of 35, Woods has won 14 Major Championships. At the same age, Nicklaus also had 14, so you would think Tiger still has plenty of time to win five more to surpass the Golden Bear.

    Not so fast.

    Nicklaus did not go through everything Woods has gone through at this point in his career. If Woods can get back to being a competitive golfer week in and week out, then he has a chance to surpass Nicklaus. But if he can't become a fraction of what he used to be, he has no chance.

    Nickalus won his 18th Major at the age of 46, leaving Woods 11 years to match him in the same amount of time, but that wont matter if Woods can't compete with the field anymore.

    Ultimately, I think Woods will pass Nicklaus on the all-time Major Championship wins list, but the clock is certainly ticking.

Rampant Speculation About What Is Wrong Will Continue

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    Tiger Woods may be the most over-analyzed athlete of all time.

    Every anchor, analyst and writer has their opinion as to why he is playing so poorly.

    During the PGA Championship telecast, one broadcaster even brought up the fact that he couldn't remember a time when Woods wore a shirt that had banded sleeves.

    Are you kidding me?

    The guy is obviously struggling, but it has nothing to do with his clothes. 

    He hasn't played consistent, competitive golf in over two years.

    Let him play a consistent schedule before you bring up any crazy theories as to why Tiger is in a funk. When you take as much time off as he has, it is near impossible to jump back in and be the player he was before.

    He is probably the greatest golfer of all time, but he is human, folks.