Tiger remains a work in progress

He was talking about himself, but the same applies to Woods. Woods hasn't been in a final pairing since 2013. In his past nine rounds of a major, he's been better than 38th on the leaderboard only once: a T-10 at last month's Open Championship, where he finished 69th.

Woods won't say it -- it's not how he's wired -- but there has to be a cumulative effect of being tag-teamed by injury and poor performances. You can say you're playing to win, that you expect to win -- as Woods has insisted on saying this year -- but at what point do you question your own words?

"People underestimate the self-doubt and the loss of confidence after an injury," said Jason Day, who has dealt with his own series of injuries and illnesses during the past five months. "I had a thumb injury, which is bad enough. But obviously back injuries are tough and he had to get surgery. You don't come back as sharp as you would like to ... People don't understand. No one knows what he's gone through."

Or as Harrington said of Woods: "He looked kind of raw ... not enough rounds."

It was a nice way of saying that Woods isn't Woods. It's what you say when you know a guy's game is a work in progress.

Everyone is trying to be polite about the state of Woods' game. He's earned that much and more.

Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson has made it clear he'd love to have Woods on the U.S. team that travels to Gleneagles in September. But the Woods of Aug. 7 makes it difficult, if not semi-impossible, to make a Ryder Cup case for him.

Reality is setting in, which isn't such a bad thing. Woods isn't dismissing his PGA Championship chances, but there was no talk of winning when he was done Thursday. Instead, he said his goal is to get to under par by the end of the second round.

Baby steps. Nothing wrong with baby steps.

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