He showed us power. He showed us touch. The only winning trait Tiger Woods didn't have at Torrey Pines was patience. He got frustrated Monday when the tortoises in front of him caused his round to take nearly four hours. Four hours for 11 holes.
Woods is impatient. He has not won a major since he limped to a playoff victory at the 2008 U.S. Open. Last year he teased us time and again. He won two weeks before the Masters. He won two weeks before the U.S. Open and was tied for the lead after two rounds.
Yes, with a qualifier: So long as he doesn't try to rebuild his swing. Again.
Tiger's swing changes over the years have been the only reason he hasn't obliterated Nicklaus' record by now. He had the best thing going 10 years ago. Then he insisted on fixing what wasn't broken in 2004, hinting that his body, specifically his left leg, couldn't hold up to the torque Butch Harmon helped him maximize.
But not until after he changed it did his body start breaking down. Now he has appeared to find a happy medium under new coach Sean Foley. So if he can dial in his short irons better and stop overshooting greens, he'll win a major. Actually, he'll win more than one.
Since Tiger Woods last won a major five years ago, young talent has blossomed worldwide, and names such as Bradley, Simpson, Watson, Oosthuizen, McDowell, McIlroy, Kaymer, Schwartzel are all winners of majors.
Woods' best chance to grab a major this season is at Augusta National. But, again, all those younger talents also could take home a green jacket, as could 42-year-old Phil Mickelson.
The rest of the courses in the majors rotation this year: Merion, Muirfield and Oak Hill in Louisville, are layouts where Woods has never won.
Of course Tiger is capable of winning a major this year, but so are Brandt Snedeker, K.J. Choi and Dicky Pride.
Which is why I say Tiger won't win one this year — because he's just another good golfer among the dozens of good golfers who compete weekly on the PGA and European Tours.
Tiger used to be great enough to beat the field and the odds, but no more. The old Tiger was like the NBA's Miami Heat. He just had more talent and more confidence than anybody else, and you just knew he was the odds-on favorite before the season began. The new Tiger is like the NFL's New England Patriots — still good, but aging and not nearly the sure thing he once was.