Perhaps even more telling was an observation from Padraig Harrington. "Did you ever think you would hear a professional golfer genuinely and sincerely say, 'I hope Tiger Woods plays better,'" Harrington said over the weekend.
No one ever imagined him playing worse. Woods didn't just miss the cut in the Phoenix Open last week. He missed it by 12 shots. More than posting an 82 -- the highest score of his professional career was how lost he looked on the golf course, especially around the greens.
Yes, this was a really bad day at the office. But this was Tiger Woods, the guy with a short game that had no rival. The biggest break for Woods during his second round at the TPC Scottsdale was on the 17th hole, when Woods and Jordan Spieth drove it just short of the green. The hole was back and to the right, requiring a pitch that had to be struck close to perfect.
Woods had no chance. His golf ball was partially sunken in a divot, a shot so impossible that he stood over it for nearly a minute with his hands on his hips instead of around a club, probably because he had no idea what club could get him out of this trouble. He opted for a 4-iron, which didn't have enough pace and fell off the side of the green. Why was that a break?
Because if he had a clean lie, Spieth would have exposed him even more. Spieth has one of the best short games on tour. Woods does not. And the rest of his game is not much better.
The talk at Isleworth two months ago, when Woods returned from a four-month break to let his back heal fully from surgery and to regain strength, was that there was more freedom in his swing. In Phoenix, he was back to rehearsing his shot, over and over, before every swing.