By Pat Forde, Yahoo Sports
The effects of The Lost Decade weren’t visible when Tiger Woods sat down for his pre-U.S. Open news conference at Shinnecock Hills yesterday. He’s in great shape. His face is smooth and youthful for age 42. The omnipresent “TW” hat concealed his fading hairline.
But the effects are there, and they run deep. The decade since Woods’ last major championship win, when he elevated his already exalted legend into the stratosphere by playing 91 epic holes on a broken leg at Torrey Pines, is a saga of sustained loss.
He lost his health, both physical and emotional. He lost his marriage. He lost his sterling reputation. He lost his golf game. He lost his longtime caddy. He lost his swing coach. He lost his aura.
When Woods willed his injured body through four rounds plus a 19-hole playoff, his continued dominance of the sport was a foregone conclusion. He’d won 14 majors and was on an inexorable march to shattering Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18. Yes, he would need time off to heal the fractured leg, but that was viewed as nothing more than a temporary pause.
Instead, The Lost Decade ensued. Bypassing Nicklaus went from an inevitability to an impossibility.
“I have been there on a number of occasions to win a major championship since the ’08 U.S. Open, and I haven’t done it,” Woods said Tuesday. “And, no, I don’t like that feeling. I’ve certainly had a nice run where I’ve won a few. Unfortunately, over the last 10 years, I haven’t.”