“He's done it again!” That's what we used to say around the water cooler at work on Monday morning following a major golf championship. From the 1999 PGA Championship at Medinah through the 2006 PGA, also at Medinah, Tiger Woods won of 11 of 28 major titles. At one point he won four out of five and seven of eleven majors. He did it again this weekend at Merion during the U.S. Open. However, what he's doing now is exactly the opposite of what he used to accomplish.
After an uneven round of 73 on Thursday, Woods' shot 70 on Friday putting himself just four shots off Phil Mickelson's 36 hole lead. When Tiger birdied the first hold on Saturday it appeared he was poised to make a run at his first major title in five years. Seven bogeys and no birdies later Woods' was out of contention.
His 76 on Saturday followed two rounds of 75 in last year's majors, and a 77 on Sunday of the PGA in 2011. In other words, during the last seven major tournaments Woods' has posted a 75 or worse in at least one round of four of them.
When Tiger was rolling shooting 75 was an aberration. During the stretch when he won seven out of 11 majors, one of his 44 rounds was greater than 74. In fact, he had just one round of 74 during that period, and only two times did he card a 73.
Meanwhile, Woods' has not shot under 70 in any of his eight rounds at a major this year. In fact, he has just four rounds in the 60's over his last seven major tournaments. That means four times in 28 rounds has Tiger played elite golf.
During the three years when Tiger was nearly unbeatable 27 of his 44 rounds were played in the 60's. In 2000, when he won three majors, he scored under 70 in 12 of his 16 times on the course. He did not play any of the 11 major tournaments without at least two rounds under 70 between his victory at the PGA in 1999 and his 2002 triumph at Bethpage Black's U.S. Open.
Next month when the Open Championship visits Muirfield, again Woods' will be the betting favorite and story lines will abound about how he is ready to win a major title again. Much like this week when he fails excuses will range from a dissection of every part of his game, to injuries, personal issues, and age. Regardless of the reason, it seems likely he'll do it again. Doing it again now means losing, or just being another frustrated struggling guy on tour.