June 6, 2015

Unbelievable when you think of it. Tiger Woods, currently rated the 172nd player in world (astonishing enough, that) shoots the worst round of his professional career, an 85 and presently sits dead last at The Memorial, a full six strokes behind his next closest competitor, Lucas Glover. That 85 was even worse than the ghastly 82 he put up at the Waste Management Open here in Phoenix back in February. While that round was bad enough, this one was much, much worse. At the WM, it was primarily his short game that had deserted him; today, nothing worked for him: he was fighting misses with his woods and irons both left and right, he had no touch with the putter, and his short game, which has looked much better of late, was in full revert mode, contributing to an incredible quad bogey 8! on 18.

One of the reason he probably had no touch with his putter was the blisters he got on his hands after hitting seven – count ’em, seven bags of balls on the range after completing his second round on Friday. I may not be a professional golfer, but my struggles with the game have been such over the years that even I know that if you finish a second bag or bucket and you haven’t yet figured out what it is you’re trying to figure out the best thing is to give it up and hit the cocktail lounge for a frosty beer or a easy glass of wine to decompress and pick it up again tomorrow. That to me was just stupid.

But I guess when you’re Tiger Woods, arguably the greatest player who has ever played the game, and you’ve fallen to 172nd in the world and about to drop even lower, you’re just trying to find anything that works. The rounds he played on Thursday and Friday were ordinary, but the danger signs were plentiful: the 73 and 70 he put up were grinds from beginning to end. By Saturday I’m guessing he was both mentally and physically fried, and a PGA Tour event is no place to go looking for your game.

Looking at Tiger’s swing I don’t see that much of a problem. I think my swing coach Alex Black would tell him he’s standing a little too close to the ball on all his clubs, and I’ve always hated that head dropping down in his downswing, but can that cause a professional golfer of his caliber to shoot an 85? Or is it – as I’m guessing – as much mental as it is physical. Between his golf game and Lindsey Vonn leaving him there can’t be a whole lot of inner peace in his life; maybe his golf game is just the end result of that.

I feel for Tiger, but a lot of this is the result of his own ego. Major swing changes are hard to go through (I’m learning just how hard right now) but he didn’t have to dump Hank Haney and go through, what, the third, fourth (or is it fifth) major swing change of his career. When your big miss is happening on both sides you’ve basically got no swing, and Tiger has no business being out there unless he can at least reduce it to one side. I doubt the game is giving him much joy right now, and I can’t help but wonder if inside he’s wondering whether it’s all worth it.

Wouldn’t surprise me if he were to announce another sabbatical from the game.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 13:24 | Comments Off on Where To Now, Tiger?
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