Tiger Woods hadn’t teed off in the PGA Championship yet, and he sounded like he already had lost it.
In case you missed his opening statement at Oak Hill, Woods claimed he could still have a “great’’ year even if he doesn’t win this week.
Nope. Sorry. Wrong. This is loser talk in so many ways.
Here’s the deal: There’s nothing “great’’ about a year without winning a major when you’re Tiger Woods.
I mean, you’re Tiger Woods, remember? You’re all about majors.
Used to be, anyway.
Woods was the top-ranked player in the world as the PGA Championship began Thursday. He has won five times this season.
But no majors. No majors since 2008, in fact. No good.
I don’t get Woods’ thinking in what makes a “great’’ year. But I know that golf hasn’t gotten so soft that it has started measuring all-time greats by Bridgestone Invitationals.
Majors. That’s the deal. The only things that matter. That’s what Woods always told us. Majors, period.
Woods built his schedule around majors. Woods built his career around catching Jack Nicklaus. Eighteen majors. The Holy Grail. Fore!
That’s what made Woods so great, to put the word in its proper context. He was all about winning the big ones. He was only about winning the big ones. He would not be intimidated. He would, instead, intimidate. He would hunt down golf’s version of 755 home runs.
Woods did it respectfully. There was no brashness, other than the way he destroyed some legendary courses. He aimed for the top, and immediately, there he was, running down Nicklaus, racking up the “Tiger Slam,’’ greatness meeting its destiny.
Then it stopped. Then it got messy. And now Woods seems to be trying to justify what will be five-plus years without advancing on his raison d’etre if he fails, and this was before the PGA even started.
It sounds like Woods is trying to justify choking in a couple majors this year. It sounds like Woods is offering a pre-emptive excuse for choking in this one.
I hope that’s not the case. He’s great drama and golf is brilliant when he wins. But if you sound like you’re prepared to lose, then you’ve already lost.