He was at Oakmont for a corporate function two months before the 2007 U.S. Open, sitting in an indoor practice facility as he talked about missing the cut a year earlier at Winged Foot. Woods agreed with the notion that perhaps more surprising than him missing the cut in a major was that it took 10 years for it to happen.
You figure youre going to have one bad week, he said.
It also was suggested that at some point, he would have the lead going into the final round of a major and not win.
He was 12-for-12 at that point.
I dont know, Woods said. His smile indicated that he never wanted to consider such a possibility, although reality returned moments later when he added, finishing his thought, If I keep putting myself in that position.
The moment arrived Sunday at Hazeltine in the PGA Championship when Y.E. Yang erased a two-shot deficit with pars, took the lead by chipping in for eagle and put Woods away with a birdie on the final hole for a three-shot victory.
So much for that perfect record on the last day at the majors, now 14-1.
That 14 out of 14, or whatever the numbers are, they are just staggering, Fred Couples said Tuesday. And when something happens, we make it like the world is going to come to an end.
The only thing that ended was an amazing decade in the major championships, which Woods dominated like no one before him.
Along the way, there was a defining moment at each of the four majors that illustrate his success.
THE MASTERS: SPECTACULAR SHOTS: Crank up the highlights on Woods and it will start with his chip on the 16th green in the final round at Augusta National, the one that made a U-turn at the top of the hill, posed for the cameras at the edge of the cup, then dropped for birdie.
That didnt give him a green jacket ' he bogeyed the next two holes and won in a playoff. Rather, it was a shot that captured the theater Woods so often provides. It was a great chip from the moment it left his club. Anyone else, and it might not take one last turn.
Sure, there were other clutch moments, such as putts on the 18th green at Torrey Pines (U.S. Open) and Valhalla (PGA Championship).
After watching on TV as his son hit a 6-iron out of a bunker, over the water and onto the green at the 2000 Canadian Open, Earl Woods said that night, In every tournament, hell hit shots that people will be talking about for 30 years.
Not every tournament. But an awful lot of them.
U.S. OPEN: DRIVE AND DOMINANCE: A putt that probably wont make any highlight was his 15-footer for par on the 16th hole at Pebble Beach in 2000.
It was meaningless to everyone except Woods. He punched his fist when it fell, a strange reaction only because there were two holes to play and he was leading by 13 shots. He later said he was determined not to make bogey in the final round. Having blown away the field, that was the only challenge he had left.
The putt was merely symbolic of the week, which remains his greatest feat.
Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus talked about winning four majors in one year. Woods has even broached the idea of winning every tournament in a year. Who ever thought someone could win a U.S. Open by 15 shots?
Tom Watson called it far and away the most sensational thing he had ever seen.
BRITISH OPEN: FOCUS: Woods was in total control of his game at Royal Liverpool in 2006, plotting his way around the baked-out links with a superb display of irons. He only lost control when he tapped in for his two-shot victory, sobbing on the shoulder of his caddie, and then his wife.
It was a poignant moment, his first victory since the death of his father.
Even after establishing his dominance in golf, there were questions how he would respond to life changes ' marriage, children, losing parents, especially his father. Woods got married in October 2004 and won two majors the next year. His father died, and he followed with two majors. And after becoming a father for the first time, he closed out the year with a major.
PGA CHAMPIONSHIP: LOSING: Woods stared solemnly at his golf ball as Yang celebrated his remarkable victory at Hazeltine. It was not the first time Woods played in the final group without winning, but the first time playing with the winner.
Throughout the decade, losing only made Woods victories look even more impressive. There is a fine line between winning, and Woods always seems to wind up on the right side of it.
Consider the putts he made at Valhalla, Augusta National, Torrey Pines, Southern Hills ' and the ones inside 10 feet he missed Sunday at Nos. 10, 13, 15 and 17. He got the wrong gust at the right time on the 17th. Instead of his approach on the 18th hopping right toward the hole, this time it went left into the rough.
A bad day at the wrong time, Woods said.
Which makes all those good days '12 majors this decade ' all the more astounding.