Thursday, August 11, 2011
A Nasty Round for Tiger Woods Leaves Us All Speechless
There are plenty of times in the career of Tiger Woods when he's done stuff that's left you speechless. His second shot into the 18th at the Canadian Open in 2002 comes to mind. That dribbling putt that dropped on the 72nd hole at Torrey Pines in '08 is another. And of course, some of his performances as a whole, like Augusta in '97 and Pebble Beach in 2000.
But rarely does it leave you a befuddled speechless. That's what happened Thursday at Atlanta Athletic Club. I was speechless. Utterly speechless. People will ask me today and tonight what happened to Tiger after he was 3-under through five holes in the first round of this year's PGA Championship, his first major since the Masters earlier this year, and I really don't know if I'll have an answer.
He couldn't hit a fairway? He kept making the bad mistake? He found more bunkers than an Army training op? He couldn't buy a putt? He made three double-bogeys? All of these are part of the reason, but there has to be a reason for this, and that reason is the guy just doesn't have any confidence in his golf game anymore. Why do I think that? Because I've been where he is. I've hit those misses that go way away from the trouble on every hole. I've sat on tees trying to hit it in the right rough because water is to the left. And I was doing all that because I knew my golf game was a broken window.
And you know I'm not stupid enough to compare what I can do on the golf course to what Tiger can do. His talent is the Empire State Building, and mine is a Radio Shack, but as a golfer, I can get where he's at. It's just strange to think that Woods would ever get there.
His opening round 77 was the worst he's ever had in a major. He isn't going to make the cut on Friday, mostly because he doesn't have a golf swing to do it.
I hate to think that we are currently watching a guy lose his golf game. Back in the early 2000s, when David Duval found and lost his golf game, the focus wasn't there in the media. Sure, Duval was a big name, but he wasn't Tiger Woods. This guy is falling apart, and all that rumbling we had when he got hurt for him to come back seems completely justified now. He should have taken the rest of the year off. He should have packed the sticks away, got on his boat, cleared his mind and figured out just what he wants to do with his career moving forward.
I know Tiger wants to play well. I know he has all the right intentions on the golf course, and wants to go out and win. But the reality of it is he isn't going to do that. He can't. He isn't mentally there, his swing is all over the place, and he just doesn't have enough reps on the golf course to realistically compete on the PGA Tour, 2011 Edition. Each player out there is just getting better and better, but Tiger is regressing. His game is getting worse. He needs time away to figure it all out or he could just keep getting beat down, and every round like this is just another step back for Woods.
I feel bad for Tiger. I really do. I feel bad because I know he wants to win so bad, but more importantly, because this was our generation's guy. This was the man that we were planning on telling our grandkids that we got to see live! He was the player we were going to brag about for years to come, because he grew up when we grew up, and his golf was better than everyone else's.
Nobody enjoys watching this implosion. I just wish Tiger would get it all cleared up before he tees it up again. I'm sure right now, golf clubs are the last thing he wants in his hand (well, besides a microphone).