The latest Tiger Woods news is his failure even to make the cut at the PGA tournament—perhaps the most severe humiliation yet and a sign that, as the New York Post put it on its front page today, it might be time “to put a fork in him.” Thirteen months ago, Charles Murray predicted that Woods’s personal troubles would make it impossible for him to replace Jack Nicklaus as the greatest golfer of all time in a remarkable analysis called “Why Tiger Won’t Catch Jack”:
The combination of qualities that enabled Nicklaus to win 18 majors and has enabled Woods to win 14 is freakish. To take just one example, Woods has an astonishing record of sinking difficult putts at critical moments, including on the final hole with victory at stake. That’s not just a matter of reading the greens accurately and having a good putting stroke. It’s a product of a mental state that the rest of us can barely imagine, the product of a Chinese puzzle of psychological strengths…The role of those psychological strengths is why so much of the commentary about Woods’s play since he returned is beside the point. The commentators focus on whether his component skills are returning to their pre-scandal levels. He can return to precisely the same place on the bell curves of the component skills that he occupied before the meltdown in his personal life, but the package will not be the same. Tiger Woods has experienced a sort of concussion to that Chinese puzzle of psychological strengths, and there must be some residual damage that won’t ever go away.
Right Murray was.