Look, I know how this works. The latest impression is always the one that most influences you, right? It's the one that most colors your judgment and therefore (sometimes) renders it premature.
So I'm wary of saying what I'm about to say about Tiger Woods, having watched him grow old in front of my eyes on his way to a 42 on the first nine of the TPC and subsequent limping withdrawal from the tournament.
I think his window of opportunity to catch Jack Nicklaus' record 18 majors has slammed shut.
I actually thought that some years ago, mainly because I didn't think he played enough between majors to keep his game honed, especially as he got older. Now I just think the getting-older part will prevent it from happening.
I think he may be only 35 years old, but his knees are 135. I think the knees are going to turn him into a geriatric long before he is one chonologically. I think, therefore, that the odds of his winning five more majors are hovering just above zero -- and I say "just above" only because it's Tiger we're talking about.
Over and above everything else, see, numerology is against him. Not a lot of people win majors north of 35, let alone win five of them. Their games begin to slip. And it's not like everyone else stands still; check out how many truly quality young golfers are out there right now, with more coming all the time. And virtually none of them are intimidated by Tiger Woods anymore, which removes another of his weapons.
Used to be Tiger would show up at an event and everyone would go into cringe mode. When's the last time that happened? I mean, seriously happened?
Fact is, he's hurt and aging and he's fallen into the kind of trap I never thought he would -- i.e., he's thinking too much. Every time he takes the club back you can almost hear the whirring inside his head: "How's my hand position? How's my swing plane? Am I getting the proper hip turn? Is my clubhead speed right?"
Yeesh. As John Daly is fond of saying, just grip it and rip it, dude.
Trouble is, Tiger can't really do that anymore, which might have been why he tore up the swing with which he tore up golf. There's really no other rational explanation for why he'd want to try to fix what demonstrably wasn't broken.
Now, it's broken beyond repair, or at least repair enough. Or so it looks from here.