Luke Elvy: In the Eyes of Tiger
The only thing you can predict with Tiger Woods these days is his unpredictability. The game’s most bankable star has become a Chameleon.
Take these past two weekends as a snapshot… he goes from “oh, he’s back” on Saturdays to “oh, his back” on Sundays. While golf is so much more than stats, here are the basic numbers.
A 5 under 65 on Saturday at the Honda Classic had everyone buzzing, but the noise was far greater when he withdrew after 13 holes on Sunday citing “back spasms” – he was +5 on his round.
There was no WD this week at Doral, but it was eerily similar as Woods had everyone thinking ‘W’ when he roared into contention with a tournament low 66 on moving day. But the story changed dramatically in the final round when his back issues resurfaced after an awkward bunker shot on 6.
However, his head went down after chunking an approach into the water on 4, which led to his first bogey of the day. The end result? A birdie free 78… his worst Sunday round ever.
As ESPN’s respected golf writer Bob Harig tweeted “no birdies for Tiger today; only 8th time in 1,096 rounds on the PGA Tour as pro”
It begs the question… how does the greatest player of his generation become so inconsistent?
I understand we are not in Tiger’s body, nor comprehend his pain, but remember this is a guy who famously won a US Open playing with a broken leg! For a guy who can grind over every single shot, there appears to be a little bit less of that these days.
For Australians, the focus was on Adam Scott and whether he could snatch the world no.1 ranking. It was exciting to entertain the thought, but the reality is, Woods wears the pants in this scenario. When he’s on he’s clearly the best, but when he’s off it is usually short lived.
Consider this, last year Tiger had five PGA Tour wins which is three more than Scott has ever achieved in a single season. He’s done it a remarkable 10 times in his astonishing 79-win career.
However the question some are asking is no longer will he break Jack Nicklaus’s 18 Majors record, more like will he ever win another?
US Golf Digest’s senior writer Matthew Rudy posed the question with this tweet “(Arnold) Palmer and (Tom) Watson won their last major at age 34 and 33. They had 19 top 10s combined the next 5 years. Sometimes its already over.”
While I don’t think it is, at 38, Tiger Woods has endured many significant injuries. He has a swing that generates so much torque and power that injury is simply unavoidable. So what will his future hold? I for one have stopped predicting… that is until he wins The Masters next month.
A quick shout out to Alistair Presnell who made an incredible three eagles in his final round of the Chile Classic including one at the last hole. Unfortunately, it was quite enough to win the second Web.Com Tour event of the year.
Canada’s Adam Hadwin birdied four of his last six holes to claim a one-shot victory, but the Australian’s runners up result has him well placed early in the season to regain his PGA Tour card, which is more valuable than any win.