Let me start this by saying I am a big fan of Tiger Woods. As a man with a handicap in the stratosphere, I have always admired the ease with which he played – and conquered – perhaps the most frustrating game ever invented. That is why it pains me so much now to watch him floundering around on the golf course the way he has.
I know he’s been away from the game for a while, and I know it takes time to get it back. But… while this may be his first competitive round in awhile, it’s not like hasn’t been on the golf course constantly prior to the Waste Management Phoenix Open. I am sure he’s played dozens of rounds and played much better than he showed the last two days. If he hadn’t, I seriously doubt he’d have entered the field at all.
I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but he looks healthy. I am also not a shrink – God knows, no one wants me digging deep into their psyche – but I can only conclude what’s going on with him is almost entirely mental. He looks lost and unsure of himself. It’s the only explanation I can come up with.
I know a short game is something you need to work on and something that takes a lot of touch, but Tiger’s case of the yips (or whatever you want to call them) around the green are unlike anything I’ve ever seen on the PGA Tour… ever. Look, everyone hits a bad shot or two, but Tiger is stringing them together. It just seems like he isn’t buying into the shot he’s trying to hit.
There was a lot of talk when he was “coming back” (again) about the change in swing coach, using a PhD candidate instead of a normal coach and gaining back his old form. I think he is still listening to too many people. I think he needs to just shut them all out, go out on the range and course by himself, and use his God-given ability and play the game naturally. Stop over-analyzing everything. Be more like Bubba Watson, who goes out every week and just seems to make shots up as he goes along. God knows, Tiger has the natural talent to do something like that.
Many great golfers have had slumps. Hell, people had Jack Nicklaus buried a couple of times during his career, and he found his way back. Make no mistake, Tiger Woods is still good enough to beat the crap out of 99 percent of the golfers in the world, but it looks like the person he can’t beat right now is himself.
I’m rooting for him though.