@eamonlynch @trevoreaske It's interesting to look back at some of the majors where he was in contention post-hydrant crash, and see what happened and why he didn't close. Some of it is other guys just played their asses off (which did happen pre-hydrant — Bob May, Rich Beem, Michael Campbell, Rocco Mediate, YE Yang — but maybe not as much) and some of it was he just couldn't summon great rounds when he needed.

2010 Masters: It's really remarkable how well he played here, especially when Haney talks about in The Big Miss about how garbage he was leading up to the tournament. (I still think the one thing no one has ever really touched on about the whole scandal is that playing in this Masters was probably what really turned out to be the final straw of his marriage. She alluded to as much in People, I believe, but no one really connected the dots. She wanted him to re-prioritize his life a little, skip a major to prove he was committed to their family, and still he wanted to win majors.) Anyway, shooting 69-70 on the weekend isn't anything to be ashamed of, it's just that he didn't get a typical collapse from guys like Phil, who went 67-67.

2010 US Open: Remember when he shot 66 on Saturday at Pebble, capped by that 3-wood into 18 on Saturday that he carved around the tree? Everyone assumed he'd be right there if Dustin blew up, but his 75 was the worst round of anyone in contention other than DJ's 82. Mostly what I remember about this round is all the loose iron shots he kept hitting. Crazy to think that shooting even par on a Sunday would have gotten him into a playoff with G-Mac, and he wasn't even close to doing it.

2011 Masters: Everyone remembers this for Rory's collapse, but what's interesting about this is people forget TW shot 67 on Sunday. Obviously he was seven shots back to start the day, but it's really his last great Sunday round in a major when it (kind of) mattered. Where he really blew this was on Saturday with a 74. I think this is a good example of how the field was changing, and guys weren't simple going to melt anymore when he was around. It still seems completely ridiculous that Schwartzel birdied the last four holes.

2012 US Open: Here is where I think the doubts start to creep into his head. Fair or not, I will always remember this for Shipnuck's column after Round 2 saying it was over, that you could engrave his name in the trophy. He hit some beautiful stingers in the first rounds of this tournament, a shot that we hadn't seen in awhile, and just seemed like he was in total command off the tee at times (a weird thing to type now). But his short irons were absolute garbage on the weekend. 73-75 to finish T-21.

2012 Open Championship: I think this is his most underrated bad finish, post-hydrant. Remember the triple bogey early in the round where he almost hit himself in the bunker blasting the ball off the face? Obviously who knows what happens with Els and Scott if he plays well, but a two-under 68 would have won him the tourney outright. He shot 73. So that triple was a killer.

2013 Masters: The flagstick. The illegal drop. The controversy. Imagine how different things might be if that shot into 15 on Friday is six inches left, and he birdies it. No way does his confidence go to hell if he scrapes together a win. Injuries or no, I think this gigantic elephant on his shoulders is lifted and he doesn't feel this crushing burden quite so much. I feel like, if you were going to write the book about went it all went to hell, that Friday would be a key element, a time when he started to feel like "I can't catch a break anymore."

2013 Open Championship: Mickelson was so good in his final round, it overshadowed how truly "meh" Tiger was in his. His 74 was so uninspired. This is the first time I remember thinking "I literally have zero faith in him to shoot a low number and win this." People used to alway talk about how Phil never rose to the occasion when Tiger was in contention, but if Tiger shoots 68 (not unheard of since Mickelson shot 66, Poutler 67 and Stenson 70) we have one of the great duels of all time.

All that scar tissue, and the fact the he had to chase a record that Nicklaus never really thought much about when he was setting it, is what brings us to him chipping with 4-irons, standing over shots just looking terrified and broken. I was taking to friends recently about his round in Phoenix, when he hit his drive and hit landed behind a rake just outside the bunker. He was walking up the fairway and he looked up at the sky, and it seriously looked like he was near tears. I'd never seen anything like it from him. Maybe his back was on fire already, and maybe he was just pissed, but it looked different to me. I think the burden to do this, to be the superhero who would suddenly "find it" and be 25 again, just finally broke him. Everyone assumes he'll figure it out eventually, and say stuff like "Oh he has to, he's Tiger Woods. He'll be great again. It's not going to end like this."

But that represents what we WANT to happen. It ignores so much history. Final acts in sports are so rarely graceful. I admire the hell out of the fight, out of the nobility of the struggle, the way he's going to grind away, even as we cringe and find it hard to watch. There is something admirable about that grind. But I think the grind is all that's left. The rest is memory.

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