Tiger Less Than Terrific
When it comes to the world of golf, all eyes are really on just one player. Sure, a lot of us like Phil and his dimpled smile, some are caught up in “Bubba Mania,” the desire to see the southern boy hit shots while standing on his head or driving the General Lee, and you might like the Irish lucky charm Rory McIlroy, but the one, true star in the world of golf is Eldridge Woods. This week Tiger got back to the business of playing golf and, once again, fell dismally short of expectations. He not only just barely made the cut at the Honda Classic in West Palm Beach Florida, he ballooned to 5 over in his final round on Sunday after just 13 holes. So bad was his play that on the 14th hole, Tiger called a tournament official over and told him he was withdrawing from the tournament. Such a John Daly move.
Tiger said he had a sore back, partly caused by his over-swinging of the club, partly from carrying the burden of another disappointment. Tiger is just stuck in neutral. He certainly isn’t in “bad shape” when compared to any other golfer. Even Phil or Rory or Adam Scott or anyone else who plays the game for a living would die to have his “off year’,” but Tiger’s measuring stick isn’t the same as other players and that’s no one’s fault but his. If he wasn’t so damned good at such a young age, no one would expect him to do more. But he was and they do.
By being just another player in an event like the Honda Classic, Tiger is doing one of two things; either he’s just using it as a warm-up for the upcoming Masters – or he doesn’t have the game anymore to win a tournament like this with hickory shafted clubs and a blind fold on like he did before. You remember the good old days, Tiger could win almost any tour stop with his B game….sometimes even his C game was better than everyone else. If he’s just getting tuned up for the majors (the Masters begins April 6) he’s doing a pretty poor job of that. Making the cut on the number and then going 5 over in the final round before quitting, hardly seems like a warm up. Seems more like a guy who, like the mere mortals he plays alongside, can’t find his game. Missing greens from 120 yards out in the middle of the fairway, three putting from 15 feet and flaring drives right of the Tea Party are not things that a player with Woods skill does. Not in the freakin’ Honda Classic.
Tiger has a lot of time left to catch Nicklaus and his majors record, he’s just 38, but he also hasn’t won a major in 5 years. The start of every new PGA season brings new hope that the king of the course, the undisputed number one player, will put the drought behind and once again become the dominant player he was. After just 2 tournaments that he’s played in in 2014, he looks uncommonly average. Is he just laying in waiting for Augusta or does he really not have the magic anymore? The guess here is that at 38 he can’t just turn on the faucet like he used to be able to. He won’t win the Masters in April and there’s every reason to believe that he won’t win any majors this year at all.