Tiger has won five times in 2013, including a Players Championship and two World Golf Championship events, in seven non-major stroke-play starts. In the only four tournaments that are pertinent anymore, the best he got were ties for fourth at the Masters and sixth at the British Open.
Chances are he'll be player of the year, unless maybe Mickelson or Adam Scott does something in the Fed Ex Cup playoffs. He'd rather have another claret jug or green jacket. That will have to wait, once again, until next year.
He'll be 38 in December.
"I've had nine birdies through 72 holes, so not enough," said Woods, who won by seven last week at Firestone, one of his favorite courses. "I was close in two [majors]. The other two, I just didn't hit it good enough. Just the way it goes.
"The golf course was set up to be had."
There was a time when Tiger would have done exactly that. But that was also mostly the time when he wasn't starting the final round some 4 hours before the last group.
Before this, the longest he'd gone without a major was the nearly 3 years from the 2002 U.S. Open to the 2005 Masters (the last of his four green jackets). There was also the 2 1/2-year gap from the 1997 Masters (his first major) and the 1999 PGA. The epic, one-legged 2008 U.S. Open is starting to seem like it happened in another lifetime.
Maybe because it sort of did.
"Is it concerning?" Tiger said. "No. As I've said, I've been there in half of them, with a chance on the back nine Sunday. I can live with that. So that's about right. You just have to get it done. It's more frustrating not being in it. That's tough . . . We have a long way to go before [April and Augusta]."
Mickelson, who finished at 12-over 292, said he wasn't going to touch a club for a week. So what was Tiger's game plan?
"Try to keep up with a 4- and 6-year-old," he smiled.