Tiger Woods has not won a major since the 2008 US Open, so by the standards of American sports talk ("if you ain't first ... you last"), his play in the first three majors of 2012 has been subpar.
However, he was in contention in the final weekend of both the US and British Open, as the 14-time major champion continues to regain his form after a long absence due to injury and personal turmoil. In a press conference with reporters on Tuesday, Woods emphasized the positive about his play this year:
Asked if that left him encouraged or disappointed, he answered: "I think both. I'm pleased at the way I was able to play at certain parts of it and obviously disappointed that I did not win. Things have progressed, but still, not winning a major championship doesn't feel very good."
While the long string of defeats have to be frustrating for a golfer who used to be a threat to win all four majors in one year, his play has undoubtedly improved over the last year.
There's nothing mystical about winning a major, not when the last 16 events have had 16 different winners. If Woods can keep himself in contention, he'll almost certainly end his drought eventually, which would be good for both him and for the sport as a whole.