Then there's the Ryder Cup.
For some reason, the eight-time major champion becomes downright ordinary when he's representing the United States vs. Europe. Maybe it's his belief that the majors are more important. Maybe it's ill-conceived pairings, like Friday's uncomfortable partnership with Phil Mickelson. Maybe it's just bad luck.
Or, as Woods said after losing his second match Saturday, 'I didn't hit the ball very well in the afternoon, and I didn't putt well. So that was a bad combination.'
Whatever the case, Woods' record in the Ryder Cup slipped to 6-11-2 when he split two matches on the second day at Oakland Hills. At least that was better than Friday, when he lost both matches paired with Mickelson.
Two days. Four matches. One point.
With its big gun struggling, the United States finds itself in an 11-5 hole going to Sunday - the largest deficit heading into a final day since the current format was adopted in 1979.
Woods remained optimistic.
'We're going to obviously have to get off to a great start and just hopefully it snowballs and rolls,' he said. 'You never know what could happen. Obviously, we're going to be very optimistic about our chances, but we need to have guys just flat-out win matches. Period.'
That starts with Woods, who'll be the first one on the course for singles, matched against Paul Casey.
'It's going to need to be more than just the first five or six,' Woods pointed out. 'We've got to go ahead, take care of business and hopefully it will all work out.'
So far, it hasn't.
Paired with Chris Riley for better ball Saturday morning, Woods played very well, seemed to enjoy himself and did the bulk of the work in beating Darren Clarke and Ian Poulter, 4 and 3.
Riley begged off from alternate-shot matches in the afternoon, but that didn't seem to be a problem. Woods was paired with Davis Love III, another American heavyweight who teamed with Tiger for two wins at The Belfry two years ago.
This time, they went against Irishmen Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley, a match that seemed to definitely to favor the Americans - especially when they won the first two holes.
The Europeans weren't flustered.
'When it's a sprint like this, anything can happen,' McGinley said. 'I think a lot of people raise their game playing Tiger. We realize it's a sprint situation. We've got a much better chance than if it was four rounds over a U.S. Open-style course.'
McGinley and Harrington birdied No. 4, then stormed ahead when Woods missed a 12-foot putt for par on the eighth hole and then bogeyed the ninth from 8 feet.
Woods and Love never caught up, playing their last 12 holes at 4 over.
'Davis played fine,' Woods said. 'I just did not play well in the afternoon. I played well in the first three matches, but this afternoon, I just didn't have it. It was just not a good time to have that happen.'
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.