Tiger Woods’s performance last week at the Accenture Match Play Championship was a bit of a muff. In his much-ballyhooed return to golf after eight months of knee rehab, he played decently and won his first match against an obscure Australian, Brendan Jones, but played erratically in his second match and was convincingly thumped by Tim Clark of South Africa.
Mr. Woods normally excels in his first starts of the season. Before this year he had won four out of his last six season openers, and since 1997 (his second year as a pro) had never finished out of the top 10. Even after longer layoffs he has done well. Following each of his two previous knee surgeries as a pro, which forced layoffs of seven and 10 weeks, he won his first time back. Only after he took six weeks off following his father’s death in 2006 did he perform poorly, missing the cut at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot. That event, Mr. Woods has said on several occasions, was the only one he ever entered without truly believing he could win.