ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The terrible, terrible drought of Tiger Woods continued over the weekend, as he won the Bridgestone Invitational by a mere seven shots and earned $1,500,000. Had he won by eight and earned $1,500,001, that would have been more impressive.
With that, he limps into the 95th PGA Championship here with but one major remaining before the year goes down as a catastrophic nonfulfillment, with perhaps only five PGA Tour wins and prize money lagging at $7,659,119 (and counting).
As the jets land and bring the golfers, Woods must face an Oak Hill course where he finished tied for 39th in the 2003 PGA Championship, part of a similarly wretched year in which he won five tournaments and $6,673,413.
It could make you cry.
Since winning the 2008 U.S. Open, which he played with fewer limbs than the others just to make it fair, he has lost all 17 majors he has entered, careening to only 14 wins across the ensuing five seasons and totaling only $26,255,443 in prize money, a figure that does not even get particularly near $27,000,000.
He has regained the No. 1 ranking and held it since March, which begs the question of why, since March, he has been so miserably unable to improve upon that ranking, which has not even budged. His career victory total stands at 79, three shy of Sam Snead's record that has stood since 1965, but it's not like it's 100 or anything.
At the Bridgestone last Friday, he shot a 61 and said, "I felt in total control of my game," but that's a canard. If he had actual, total control, he would have shot 59 or even 58 instead of blowing the round to smithereens by shooting the last five holes in even par at Firestone, a notoriously easy course. His 61 matched the best round of his career, which of course means only one thing: Our bored nation has seen that already.
He said he wasn't even bummed, showing the rank complacency we all tend to suffer when we stand 4-under-par after the first three holes and shoot 61 at Firestone.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, his seven-shot win, in which he wretchedly squandered two-ninths of a nine-shot lead on the back nine on Sunday, sent his lifetime total of wins by six or more shots to 12, only 10 ahead of a second-place cluster of four golfers with two six-or-more-shot wins during Woods' career.
It's all so disappointing.
He probably won't win at Oak Hill, either, and will head through the unbearable major-less months toward Augusta as an abject failure with Player of the Year honors, and as one of only hundreds of professional golfers who has not won a major since 2008. (It's almost as if they're really hard to win.) He will go hurtling into the 2014 Masters probably with the hopelessness of more wins in the balance of this season and the beginning of the next, plus the No. 1 ranking.
He has won tournaments leading into major tournaments eight times now since Torrey Pines in 2008, only to see those majors turn to unrelenting debacle. He won the 2009 Arnold Palmer Invitational and Memorial leading into the Masters and U.S. Open, but in those two majors he finished tied for 6th, something that's very easy to accomplish in golf. In the 2009 British Open, he missed the cut, dumping his cut-making record as a professional to a horrendous 48-2 at the time. (It since has reached a dreadful 60-3.) In the 2009 PGA, he saw his major record when leading after 54 holes free-fall to a grim 14-1.
He won the Arnold Palmer by five shots before the 2012 Masters, the Memorial by two before the 2012 U.S. Open, and the Arnold Palmer by two before the 2013 Masters -- but anybody could have done that. He won neither the 2012 Masters nor the 2012 U.S. Open nor the 2013 Masters, and in only one of those three events did he get a top-5 finish, with that one not the least bit impressive even though it involved the overcoming of a triple-bogey on a great approach that smacked a flagstick. In fact, his last five majors include finishes of 3rd, 4th, 6th and 11th -- somber outcomes, clearly.
Yet he soldiers on, making a whole bunch of workmanlike pars Sunday at Firestone and saying to reporters in Akron, "You know, Oak Hill is going to be a golf course where we're going to have to make a whole lot of pars, there's no doubt. If you have an opportunity to make a birdie, you'd better, because there aren't a whole lot of opportunities to make them."
Reminded that he won the 2007 Bridgestone by only eight shots (not nine), and how that led to a 2007 PGA Championship he also won by only two shots (not three), he says that has no relation to this year: "Zero. I had a totally different golf swing back then compared to now."
It's hard to see how he even gets up in the morning.
It's inspiring how he still gets out there and tries.
I may cry just now.