Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Curious Argument For Tiger at Augusta

During the Par-3 Contest, ESPN showed Ian Poulter hit his tee shot on the ninth hole, and then the announcers went into a conversation about what Poulter said about Tiger Woods. If you didn't catch it, Poulter mentioned earlier this week that he didn't think Tiger would finish in the top-five at the Masters, basically pointing to his inconsistent ball-striking right now as the main reason.

It was a bold statement, but a truthful one. If you think Tiger Woods has a chance this week, you haven't been paying much attention to the golf world over the last 18 months.

But the strange thing is, it isn't stoping some of the biggest voices in golf from calling it crazy. Andy North and the ESPN crew dismissed the notion, saying, "You don't want to count Tiger out on this track." Well, umm, have you been paying attention to his results lately, folks? For Tiger, it isn't the bricks, it's the foundation. It doesn't matter what golf course he's playing, if you aren't hitting the golf ball well enough to win, you aren't going to win. Or place.

Haven't we gone over this a bunch of times? Tiger was supposed to dominate Firestone, right? That was a course he had won at seven times in his career, and we all screamed about how THIS was the week he was going to break out of the slump. But he didn't, finishing 18-over par, and in a tie for 78th.

But what about Muirfield Village? Tiger had won there four times. Surely he will win again on that course, right? Nope, he finished tied for 19th in 2010.

And St. Andrews? He obliterated the field there the first two times he played the British Open there as a professional. St. Andrews was HIS golf course, right?! He was due to win there, because he had in the past, by a lot. But last year he finished tied for 23rd, never really giving much of a push after an opening 67.

So, sure, Tiger has won the Masters four times. I understand that he likes the golf course, and can play the golf course. But for us to sit here and kid ourselves into think that somehow, a golf course is going to bring the best out in his game is being shortsighted. It isn't the golf course anymore, people, it's the swing, and the head, and the stroke, and all that stuff that Tiger never used to worry about.

Now, it's just about getting the ball in the hole, no matter if it's Augusta National, or Ray's Nine Hole Pitch and Putt. It's crazy to me that people keep forgetting this.

Getty Images


seak said...

Shane, I don't think that Tiger has played any worse then Lee Westwood this year. And he was much better then DJ when they were paired together at Bay Hill.

But if you're going to make an argument for Tiger, his best finishes last year were the majors. I think that at a lot of tournaments Tiger wants to win but plays golf swing (right now), I don't think he'll be playing swing this week. And at Augusta knowing the course helps, even if you're not playing well.

Oh and Phil and Tiger tied at Bay Hill, when you're that talented, things can change in a hurry.

mike said...

I think the announcers are playing up Tiger so people will watch. You posted earlier about how much golf needs Tiger, I think the announcers agree with you. Tiger is a big driver of their ratings.

I think we all watched so many dominate Tiger tournaments that we cannot ever count him out. There will always be this twitch inside all of us that says, "is this the week?" It is almost automatic that all of us think that. Consider Vegas, they are still VERY hesitant to bet against him. That certainly says something. Nobody in any sport dominates the betting window like Tiger does.

I am not certain this is the week. He has not yet corrected some flaws in his swing and until I see that he can do it during the tournament I would not bet on him.

Anonymous said...

until Phil or another golfer wins consecutive majors and consecutive tourneys,Tiger will continue to be the flavour in golf. Inaddition, how can you count out a guy who dominated the Tour for 13 years, for now you think that he will be back at anytime. So we continue to watch and hope for now. I believe come 2012 and if he still has not won, but there is a dominant golfer then the flavour will not be so strong

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