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.