At about 4 p.m. yesterday you could hear the collective of sports writers across the nation peel themselves from the couch, dust off the Doritos from their Sunday-best jersey, and waddle to the computer desk to instantly register their disdain and spew forth their sermon of why Tiger Woods isn't the same and won't ever be the same again.
Most doubt he'll eclipse Jack Nicklaus' record 18 major wins. Most doubt he'll win a major or tournament this season, and some even go as far as to say he'll only win again on some fluke down the line.
"He's just an ordinary golfer," one wrote.
Suffice it to say as I watched Tiger's final 14 or so holes Sunday and watched him struggle mightily to get the pieces of his game going, my own thoughts brewed.
Tiger might not be the Tiger of old at the moment. But to write him off in any capacity is simply foolish.
Only Tiger hit that crazy insane level where he blew by field after field, event after event. Tiger reached a class by himself. You never saw Jack Nicklaus lapping fields like they weren't even there. What Nicklaus did was amazing, and obviously has yet to be surpassed. But he didn't dominate the way Tiger did.
While I don't necessarily agree Tiger's swing ever needed re-tooling, he's done it once before with insanely good results.
Tiger only recently began to hit the ball consistently, and while that part of his game seems to be slowly returning, when Tiger won so often in years' past and was miles ahead of anyone and everyone else it was because he was stupid good with the flat stick. Good putting is something that can only come down to feel, rhythm and repetition.
It took Tiger practically all of 2011 just to be healthy enough to compete, and only recently has he been able to sport a consistent practice schedule. With only his health and a fraction of work put in, he's been in position to win his first two tournaments of 2012.
How any rational person can say he's finished is beyond my comprehension.
Not only will Tiger return to form, he'll do it before 2012 is over. He will win this season, and he will win at least one major - most likely The Masters.
He's too close not to. He's too good not to.
When Tiger comes back, it will be with the same vengeance and dominance that only age will someday take away. He's still the greatest golfer in the history of the sport, and he still has many, many great years left of outstanding play we've yet to witness.
Maybe so right now by Tiger's standards. But it's only a matter of time before he claims his spot again as the world's best.
E-mail B.J. Lisko at firstname.lastname@example.org