For years Tiger Woods was the poster child of confidence. His walk, his golf swing, his fist pumps; it all added up to 100 percent swagger, and no other athlete short of Kobe Bryant possessed it quite like Woods.
The problem these days isn't really with his golf swing or his putting stroke. It has little to do with his course management or his club selection. Most of the issues in Tiger's golf game are between his ears, and he's doing things these days that show the confidence Tiger once carried with him from major championship to major championship has disappeared.
Want a good example?
Look at the putter issue. We have posted numerous stories about the putter change at St. Andrews mainly because it's such an obscure decision from Tiger. This guy changes golf clubs about as often as Glenn Beck defends Democrats, yet he came to a venue he has absolutely destroyed in the past with the idea that his equipment wasn't going to do the job. Three days later? Tiger switches back to old faithful, only to struggle on the greens for the third straight day.
This isn't the same guy we used to follow. Maybe it was the Y.E. Yang beat down at the PGA Championship last year, or all this internal stuff with his wife and family, but the Tiger we knew and loved prior to 2010 and the one we know now are different people.
This is a Tiger that might have a lead heading into Sunday and lose it. This is a Tiger that could easily go all season without a victory, something that has never happened since Woods turned pro in 1996. This is a Tiger that stands over golf shots contemplating the best plan of attack without truly committing to them, ending up in areas even he seems surprised to find.
The entire time this Woods debacle was happening in late November, we wondered about his life, but we really wanted to know about his golf game. I thought he'd be fine once the dust settled, and figured Tiger would win one or two majors this year, because this was his year, with the venues lining up like stars in the sky.
Sadly, like most Tiger fans, I might have been fooling myself. Will we ever see the old Tiger again? At this point, it sure doesn't seem so.