By Derek Lawrenson for the Daily Mail
Published: 22:27 BST, 15 September 2020 | Updated: 23:34 BST, 15 September 2020
The last time the US Open was at Winged Foot, Tiger Woods arrived utterly bereft following the recent loss of father and mentor, Earl.
Tiger had not played, had not practised, and looked like he would rather be anywhere else. He was still the 5-1 tournament favourite. Fourteen years on, even the bookies have lost faith in him.
After Serena Williams came up short in her pursuit of the all-time mark in her sport at Flushing Meadows last week, they see no prospect of one of the few comparable athletes over the last 20 years getting closer to his, just an hour or so up the road in metropolitan New York.
Tiger Woods has struggled to hit top form since golf came out of lockdown in front of no fans
Whoever thought we would see Tiger at America’s national championship with odds of 40-1 against his name?
He is even a holder of one of the four grand slam titles. Is there any prospect the bookies have got it hopelessly wrong?
Well, after a bit of experimentation that proved a dead loss, Tiger has wisely stuck his old Scotty Cameron putter back in the bag, the one with which he won 14 of his 15 majors.
There is also the curious case of the Zozo Championship, staged in Japan late last year on a tight, tree-lined layout where, amid similar scepticism, he waltzed away from the field to achieve his record-equalling 82nd PGA Tour triumph.
The 44-year-old arrives at America’s national