By Don Markus
The Baltimore Sun
1:25 PM EDT, May 21, 2012
Tiger Woods will be holding a news conference this afternoon at Congressional Country Club to promote the return of his AT&T National tournament. The event moved to the suburbs of Philadelphia last summer while theU.S. Open was being played at the Bethesda club.
In researching a story for Tuesday's newspaper, I came across an interesting stat: Woods is currently in the worst three-tournament stretch of his legendary 16-year career. After winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March by five shots -- prompting even the cynical Johnny Miller to proclaim that "He's back!" -- Woods has sandwiched 40th-place ties at the Masters and Players Championship around missing the cut at Quail Hollow. It marked just the eighth time in his career that Woods failed to make the cut.
The only thing close to that kind of three-tournament stretch occurred when Woods was a 20-year-old amateur in 1996 and finished tied for 82nd at the U.S Open, tied for 22nd at the British Open and tied for 60th at the Greater Milwaukee Open the week he turned pro. (Of course, he had just come off winning his third straight U.S. Amateur prior to Milwaukee.)
Considering that 35-year-old Jason Dufner won tour events two of the past three weeks -- the first two of his career -- and 33-year-old Matt Kuchar won the Players (highlighting a comeback that began after Kuchar, a former boy wonder himself, found himself on the Nationwide Tour for a couple of years), age is not a factor for the now 36-year-old Woods. But this recent stretch is startling, to say the least.
Before heading down to Bethesda, I pose this question: Was his victory in Orlando simply a mirage, or has he become as erratic as everyone else who plays the game? What do you think?
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