Last week was only the 6th event in which Tiger Woods didn’t make it to the weekend. His round Friday was probably his worst round as a professional under the conditions (he shot 81 at the Open Championship in brutal weather) as they were pretty straight forward. I was actually expecting this poor performance at the Masters a few weeks back but I guess he just stepped up his game to play unbelievably well at the right time. My guess is that Tiger really prepped himself for Augusta National in the months of confinement.
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So WHY did Tiger play so poorly? With only 9 holes to play on Friday, he was only 2 over par for the tournament and close to the cut line. He needed to shot 1 under par on the back 9 to make it to the weekend. This is where things started to unravel for Eldrick. After bogeying holes 10 and 11 Tiger knew he had to press to make some birdies to make it to the weekend. Unfortunately things only got worse from here. He lost concentration and simply gave up.
It wasn’t because he gave up that he missed the cut, it was BECAUSE he hadn’t played any competitive golf for a long time. I will exclude his performance at the Masters since it was a Major and we all know Tiger raises his game for the Majors. I’m sure Tiger would say that during his time off he was playing well on his home course but that was because he wasn’t in a tournament or playing for anything and the atmosphere was not even close to a event.
The LESSON you can learn from this is to try and put something on the line when playing with other golfers. It can be for anything from a $1, to a drink after the round or even a free car wash from your opponent! It’s always good to play for something so you keep your mind on the game and you don’t just head out to the course to socialize. I am not saying you can’t socialize but if you’re serious about playing better golf, then you should be focusing on just that!
The next 2 months will tell us a lot about Tiger Woods and his future in the game. With some young emerging talents, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els playing well and some veterans like Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia chasing their first Major title, Tiger is going to have a hard time beating Jack Nicklaus’ record of most Majors if he doesn’t get things together. At this given moment all the worlds best players are REALLY starting to think Tiger isn’t his dominate self and that this is there chance to win some Majors. This will be the case if he doesn’t get his physical and mental game back in shape. More then anything I really feel Tiger is trying to shed off the embarrassment of his personal life.