Sunday, January 29, 2012

Is This a Huge Blow to Tiger's Big Season?


One of the sneaking things about results is just how little they tell about what happened. In 20 years, people will see that Novak Djokovic won the 2012 Australian Open, but few will realize just how intense his five-set semifinal and final matches were, and how long he battled against Rafael Nadal before he was able to prevail.

Before the week, if you had told me that Tiger Woods would finish third at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, I probably would have told you that such a finish would be a great start to Tiger's year. Face it, he hasn't played his best golf the last few years, and a third place finish in such a talented field at a golf course he has never seen isn't so bad anymore for Woods. He tells us he wants to win, but it isn't 2001 anymore, and top-3s are actually good weeks for Tiger.

But the way he went about his third place finish this week in the United Arab Emirates could actually be a deficient for Tiger's season. Woods entered the final round tied for the lead with Robert Rock, a rather unknown to most of the golf world if not for his flowing locks, and was flat outplayed by the Englishman.

Rock shot 69, good enough for a one-shot lead over Rory McIlroy, while Tiger faded with an inconsistent round of even par.

The thing about Tiger's round wasn't just the score, but the swings. He was wiping shots, pulling shots, and missing mid-irons 15 yards short of greens. He wasn't getting up and down when he needed to. His play was very reminiscent of what has gone wrong the last couple of years to leave him winless in events with more than 18 players.

Tiger will surely tell the media he is going to take positives away from this, as he always does, but will he really? Is being in a position to win and then failing a boost to your attitude or another reminder that you just aren't the same golfer?

I'm thinking that with this, Tiger will definitely be feeling the latter.

Getty Images

9 comments:

seak said...

Tiger shot a 72 with a terrible ball striking round, on a golf course that was playing difficult (low score of the day was 68).

By the way the year Tiger blew the most 72 hole leads, was 2000.

Anonymous said...

Tiger has finished in the top 3 of hIs past 3 starts that awarded world ranking points. That's pretty good for someone that is struggling.

Mark said...

Rock shot 70, not 69.

seak said...

Now the way Stanley lost, that I'd worry about

J.R. Clark said...

Tiger's "C" game is still better than 99% of the world's "A" games.

This was a workshop tournament for Tiger. He is gearing up for Augusta and IMO did the right thing by playing the REAL major championship contenders on the Euro Tour.

All I saw of the Torrey Pines tournament was a bunch of PGA Tour no-name scrubs.

Mark said...

JR Clark

I think you'll find that if Tiger's C game were as you stated, he would, statistically, be higher on the WGR.

It would also, mean that he would have finished Robert Rock off at the weekend. Which clearly he didn't.

Thanks for the input though.

J.R. Clark said...

Mark,

Ahem...Tiger had his "C" game on display last week, yet managed to finish third. I did say his "C" game was better than 99 percent of the world's "A" games.

Rock was the 1 percent which proves my point.

Perhaps you should carefully read my comments before making yourself look silly.

Mark said...

Oh dear...

If 'gearing up' is failing to beat a player ranked 117 in the world who has only won one other tournament then how is his C game of the standard you say?

It's like some people are part of 'Tiger Cult'. They'll believe whatever the leader says. If Tiger says he's back, then he must be back!

Face it, there's many players better than Woods now and nobody is scared of him. Anyone who knows anything about golf would know this was a massive advantage to him in the past. His mental toughness was probably the best of any golfer ever. He's lost that edge and consequently the self-confidence to beat who he likes.

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