Tiger Woods isn’t Tiger Woods anymore.
Now, he’s Willie Mays hitting .211 and stumbling around in the outfield in his final season, as a New York Met.
He’s Muhammad Ali being carried at the end by Trevor Berbick.
He’s Johnny Unitas, throwing for 19 yards and two interceptions in his last meaningful playing time – as a San Diego Charger.
This is the morbid territory we now tread with Woods, who at only 39 should not be shooting 80 in the first round of a U.S. Open because golf greatness is not supposed to vanish that quickly.
You’re not that good at this game and turn that embarrassingly bad before your 40th birthday. Hence all the confusion over the state of Woods at the moment.
After 40, Jack Nicklaus won five more times as a pro, including three majors.
Ben Hogan turned 41 the year he won three majors, and that was four years after almost dying in a highway accident.
Sam Snead kept collecting titles by the bushel into his late 40s.
To watch Woods now is to experience an entirely foreign type of sensation, the kind they must have felt in the final days of Mays and Ali and Unitas. It doesn’t really matter on which side of the great Tiger Divide you have found yourself over the years, you have to be feeling it, too. A reaction you never could have imagined to a figure such as Woods.
A sadness bordering on pity.