January 31, 2015

…is what Tiger Woods could well be saying in the above picture after his fourth consecutive miserable round of professional golf since his “formal” return back in December following last year’s back surgery.

82. I mean, how does the greatest golfer of his generation – a legend, mind you – go out and shoot an 82? Sure, Tiger can look into his glass and mutter in Roy McAvoy fashion that, well, he missed a 10-ft. putt on 18 for an 81 but that’s not going to cut it. I mean, this is Tiger Woods we’re talking about here. We’re not just talking about barely missing the cut at the Waste Management Open, but finishing next to dead-last at a whopping +13 in doing so – his worst round as a professional.

I was able to watch some of the Tiger lowlights on Golf Channel during their pre-second round coverage, and believe me, his play was even uglier than his score showed. Sure, his tee game was inconsistent and his iron play only so-so due to poor distance control, but that’s to be expected from someone retooling his swing for the fourth time in his professional career. What was truly astonishing and disturbing was his short game, which, to be kind, continues to look like something you’d see during a Goodboys Invitational weekend than a PGA Tour eventS . Duffed chips. Fat chips. Skulled chips. Bladed chips. It was embarrassing to watch. Tiger can talk all he wants about physical patterns and mental patterns, but I just don’t buy it. And I think what’s happening bodes very poorly for Tiger’s future if he doesn’t turn his short game around pronto – like Brandel Chamblee said during that show, I think Tiger’s got the yips.

Now I’m no Tiger Woods, but I think I can speak with authority about retooling one’s swing – I’ve been doing it off and on for the better part of three years. And only now (as you will read in an upcoming post) do I think I’ve finally got down the kind of swing I want to have. But during this time, never – and I do mean never – has my short game completely abandoned me. Oh, it has gotten a little loose at times – as it always will – but over that period I don’t recall ever having my short game abandon me as completely as Tiger’s appears to have.

Watching Tiger remove his hat and shake hands with his playing partners today I was struck at how old a 39 he looks. I know it was a tough grind for him but there was something else I saw – weariness, uncertainty, and yes – even fear. And I wonder if Tiger’s issues run deeper than just being between swing changes. I think his appearance next week at Torrey Pines has some very high stakes. His short-game cart has run off the path and he better find something – anything – that can take away positive as far as his short game is concerned, and quick.

Forget about Jack and the 18 majors – his future as a professional golfer depends on it.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 02:03 | Comments (0)
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