AUGUSTA, Ga. — The slow and awkward decay of the powerful aura of Tiger Woods continued here Tuesday on a rain-soaked golfing cathedral that smelled like a damp towel.
For the first time in 20 years, Woods will not be here for the Masters, a tournament he has won four times, his virtual ownership of Augusta National symbolizing his decades of dominance.
Yet his fellow golfers do not sound relieved. They do not act as if reprieved. They spoke of this giant, haunting presence with neither fear nor reverence.
Tiger just has not been the same golfer since the scandal. Prior to that time, he’d won 14 major titles, second only to Jack Nicklaus, and seemed a cinch to easily surpass Nicklaus’s total of 18. He hasn’t won a major since.
I think his head is screwed up. He’s lost his feeling of invincibility, and unless he can somehow overcome that loss, I don’t think he’ll ever win another major.