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A Lonely Walk

It was business as usual for Tiger Woods in Sunday’s final round of The Memorial tournament.

Woods went through his regular pre-round practice routine and arrived at the first tee dressed in his traditional Sunday Red shirt and his omnipresent game face.

But this was a very different Sunday for the man who once ruled the game.

Tiger Woods was the first player teeing off on Sunday because he was the last placed player in the field. His 3rd round, 85, put him at 12-over par for the event and 6 shots behind the second to last player in the field, Lucas Glover.

The 85 that Woods shot on Saturday was his worst round on the PGA Tour “besting” the 82 he carded in Phoenix in February by 3.

Regardless of what your thoughts may be of Woods as a human being, it was impossible to watch him play without a slice of human sympathy. Earlier in the year, Woods had struggled mainly with his chipping, but now the malaise that once afflicted his short game has spread to every club in his bag.

The struggles that we chronicled earlier have mushroomed into something unimaginable for the player we once considered invincible. The ways for him to fix what is wrong, however, are still the same.

Woods has won Jack Nicklaus’s Memorial tournament 5 times in his career and his quest to break Nicklaus’s record 18 Major Championships has been his top goal for his entire life. That quest would seem to be an impossible dream.

Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo were interviewing Nicklaus during Saturday’s 3rd round and asked the Golden Bear what his advice would be for his fellow big cat: “(Tiger) He’s the only one who can fix what he’s got [going wrong].”

Woods closed with a 2-over par, 74 on Sunday in his solitary walk around Muirfield G.C. It was one of the loneliest walks that we have ever seen on a golf course.

If any player can reinvent their game for a fourth time, as Woods is trying to do, it would surely be him. Perhaps the accompanying humility that he is enduring is all part of that process, but on the other occasions when he worked on swing changes, there were always rays of light shining behind the clouds.

There is so little light shining now on the man whose star once shone so brilliantly.

Woods’s fall is a very public reminder of how fast things can change, not only in this great sport, but also in Life itself. We are reminded that there are no “finites” in either, no “absolutes” and that no one person is beyond the glory and the tragedy that we all must experience.