by Sally Jenkins

ST. ANDREWS, SCOTLAND—There's no better place than St. Andrews — surrounded by ruined cathedrals and tumbled-down castles and monuments to burnt martyrs, the stony debris of epic pride — to regain a sense of humility. The Old Course demands awe, and provides historical context. What's clear against its backdrop is that Tiger Woods has been a great player, but not a great champion. What's unclear is whether he's up to becoming one.

In his two previous victories at St. Andrews, Woods was all towering stature and false virtue. Now his image looks like one of those ruined spires up on the hillside. His personal scandals have done incalculable personal damage, and may have done harm to his competitive mastery, too: He has never gone this deep into a season without a victory.

This British Open is therefore an important rite of passage and turning point for him. He has a chance to make some real progress in his comeback, both professional and personal.

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