Woods hoping to rise from the ashes after horror 82
It was a display that had you rubbing your eyes and pinching yourself to check you weren’t dreaming.
Tiger Woods, 14-time major winner and 79-time PGA Tour champion, playing ‘army golf’ off the tee, flubbing chips, blading bunker shots, contriving shots off his knees, on his way to his worst round as a professional at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
His 11-over-par round of 82 in bleak conditions at TPC Scottsdale eclipsed his previous high 81 at the 2002 Open Championship. That score was posted in the midst of gale force winds and compared to this, would probably seem like a par round to him.
Woods’ front nine 44 tied his worst nine-hole career score and was just the 13th time Woods has missed the cut in a professional event. His 13-over par 155 left him equal dead last with little known Michael Hopper of those who missed the cut.
Tiger Woods (Credit: www.golffile.ie)
Woods took four months off from August to fully recover from the back surgery he endured in March and returned with high hopes after reporting to be as strong and healthy as ever.
It’s been reported his swing changes are responding well under the eye of instructor Chris Como and his swing is noticeably more upright, longer and his ball speed and flight has improved.
Clearly however, the rust that exists in all aspects of his game was magnified under tournament conditions, especially his once untouchable short game.
“We all have days like this,” he said putting on a brave face for the media, “Unfortunately mine was in a public setting. But even on bad days like this you just have to keep fighting.”
“I’m going home right now. I’ve got to practice each and every day. Just work on it. Hitting golf balls is one thing and playing golf at home is another. Playing tournament golf is entirely another. I have to continue with the process.”
“I have been here before. It wasn’t that long ago that I changed my swing with Sean Foley and I was Player of the Year only a year ago. You’ve got to keep things in perspective and sometimes it’s difficult to do that.”
Woods will be hoping he finds something as he returns to the familiar surrounds of Torrey Pines in Southern California for this week’s Farmers Insurance Open, a venue he has owned over the years with seven professional wins including the 2008 U.S. Open.
On Friday’s performance, a win is out of the question and even making the cut and dragging him himself to somewhere near contention would be a long odds bet.
As he struggles to bed down his swing changes and find some confidence in what he’s working towards, just finding the middle of the clubface in tournament play more often than not will be a huge step in the right direction.