Just once I wish Tiger Woods would say he’s lacking as a golfer — not so the rest of us can toe at the mighty who have fallen but to see something that feels real.
When he struggled during his prime yet still insisted he was hitting the ball well, at least you could chalk it up to the oversized self-belief of a consistent champion.
But now, it just sounds empty. To hear Woods tell it, he is always inches away from getting back to the form that won him 14 majors, never mind his world ranking of 241st. There was more of that talk during the buildup to the British Open, which began Thursday. He shot a four-over 76 and is tied for 143rd place. Of course.
Ten days ago, Woods finished in a tie for 32nd at the Greenbrier Classic, one of those tournaments in which birdies travel in flocks. I don’t want to say that this kind of event would have been beneath him in the past, but he would have needed a megaphone to call down to it.
“I played really well,” Woods said after a final-round 67. “I hit the ball the best I’ve hit it in a long, long, long time, made absolutely (no putts). I had full control over all the clubs.”
Now you might say, what’s the big deal? Here’s a struggling golfer who has found some confidence and is trying to ride it. What’s wrong with that? Nothing, if it weren’t for his comments after the Memorial Tournament, in which he finished last among players who made the cut. That can happen when you shoot a third-round 85.
“I felt like we made a big, giant step at Memorial, even though I shot those numbers,’’ he said.
This is Tiger Woods, the king of spin, the golfer who never misses a shot. Believe him at your own risk.