After British Open Loss, is Tiger Woods in Decline?

Some wonder if the Era of Tiger could come to a close

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South African Louis Oosthuizen won the British Open at St. Andrew's yesterday, but most of the post-tournament discussion centered around Tiger Woods. He finished 13 strokes behind Oosthuizen, and is now 0-for-7 in tournaments since a domestic disturbance last November plunged his marriage and career into chaos. Despite trading in both his swing coach and trusty Scotty Cameron putter in recent months, Woods has been unable to recapture his old form. Is the Tiger era as we know it over?

  • The way Woods has been losing is infinitely more troubling than the losses themselves, writes Larry Dorman of the New York Times. He's not even close. "Tiger Woods came to St. Andrews thinking he could win the British Open. When he departed Sunday after tying for 23rd. he was satisfied only in that he knew why he never really had a chance to hoist to the claret jug."
  • The fear factor may have been more integral to Woods' game than anybody realized, says Joe Posnanski of

"I’ve long thought that Tiger Woods (unlike many great athletes) does not feed off of being UNDERESTIMATED, but quite the opposite — he feeds off of being OVERESTIMATED. He has spent his entire golfing life building up an aura of invincibility — see his name come up on the leaderboard and cower in fear. When Woods is in the lead, golfers try too hard to pull off shots that are not in their bags because they know — they KNOW — that he won’t give it up. That’s his game. Rattle them. Intimidate them. Make them fear him. I have no idea how Woods would handle being underestimated, and nobody else does, either, but I don’t think it fits him at all. Tiger Woods is a frontrunner, the best in the history of golf. Every major championship he has ever won — all 14 of them — he won from the lead. He is Goliath. He has never shown even the slightest inclination for becoming David or, anyway, I haven’t seen it. I don’t think he’s suited for a slingshot."

  • Is rehab to blame for Tiger's struggles? Mark Celizic of thinks so. "Admit you’re wrong in one part of your life, and there can be a carryover. Tiger thought he was perfect. He admitted he wasn’t. And ever since he hasn’t been able to do much of anything right on the golf course."
  • Don't write Woods off completely warns Michael Rosenberg of "He has played some truly lousy golf this year — understandably, considering the circumstances. But he is still a talent unlike any other on Tour."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.