Saturday, August 15, 2015

Tiger Woods out at the PGA Championship: Misses four cuts in a season for first time

On Saturday, former world number one golfer Tiger Woods missed the cut at the PGA Championship. This was the third consecutive missed cut in a major championship by Woods.

"I hit it good enough to be where I needed to be, but I putted awful. 

"And I finally figured something out today on the putting green, but the damage had already been done. Finally rolled the ball coming in, and unfortunately it was too little, too late," Woods said.

For the first time in his career, the 39-year-old Woods has missed four cuts in a season.

Woods played some of the worst golf of his career at the 2015 U.S. Open. Woods shot a 10-over first round 80 at Chambers Bay, his worst score ever at the U.S. Open.

At the British Open, Woods failed to make the final cut for the 3rd time out of his last 4 majors. After Saturday, you can make that 4 out of the last 5 majors that Woods has failed to make the cut.

I have to ask the question, is it time for Tiger Woods to retire?

"Right now, I need a lot of work on my game, and to still spend time with the people that are important to me.

"My play, and scores, are not acceptable for tournament golf.

"Like I've said, I enter a tournament to compete at the highest level, and when I think I'm ready, I'll be back," Woods recently wrote on his website.

In February, Woods withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open midway through the first round with a lower back injury. This was Wood's third injury-related withdrawal during his last nine tournaments.

“It just never loosened back up again. And when we went back out, it just got progressively tighter.”

“It’s frustrating that it started shutting down like that. I was ready to go. I had a good warm-up session the first time around.

"Then we stood out here and I got cold, and everything started deactivating again. And it’s frustrating that I just can’t stay activated. That’s just kind of the way it is," Woods said.

Woods last won a major in 2008. A full year and half after that he had the disastrous night at his mansion followed by a self imposed exile. Once back he again ascended the World Rankings to become the number one player in the world on March 25, 2013 for the eleventh time.

In 2013, Woods experienced recurring problems with his back including tightness and spasms. On March 31, 2014 he had surgery for a herniated disk returning 12 weeks later. He has undertaken another swing change and his recovery is incomplete.

Woods has suffered an assortment of knee and Achilles tendon injuries before 2008, the last time he won a major. While his marital misfortunes cost him personally, reviewing a list of these injuries many of which took place well before his divorce suggests that it is these are also a source of his most recent woes and majors drought.

There was a time when I thought Woods was going to crush Jack Nicklaus' major wins record. Due to his personal issues and his body breaking down, I am really thinking Tiger is not going to get there now.

So much, too much, of Tiger's previous ability to win tournaments was based on a psychological game both for him and his opponents. Not that he wasn't a gifted golfer, but I would win the Masters with a 100 if all the other contenders gave up. That was a big part of it--"Tiger's in the hunt" as the commentators used to say.

Almost every one of his wins had the same signature--creeping closer and closer toward the leader day by day--literally like a tiger slowly creeping up on it's prey. Those positions at the end of each day were no accident. They were carefully calculated to give players the impression that they were being "hunted down."  That begins to work on them and they convince themselves they can't win--they panic and start to screw up.

Is Tiger ready to hang it up? He’s had his years on top, and now his body is finally catching up to him. Besides the way he plays, he has been embroiled in far too many scandals and controversies to properly focus on his game.

If he did have some piece of mind, perhaps he could re-think his swing so as to not traumatize his left knee and back. In any event, the handwriting is on the wall. The guy has made millions and had has a phenomenal record on the course. Now, he needs to kick back, chill out, and mellow out and get his mind in the correct place.

Then and only then will he be able to stage a comeback.

Tiger has made hundreds of incredible shots throughout his career that were much more about a great mind than a great swing – his miraculous chip-in at Augusta comes to mind.

I know it’s an unflattering and unfair comparison, but sometimes Tiger reminds me of Mike Tyson. A man who’s raw power and animal hunger to win made him so feared by opponents that when he finally lost a step, and his opponents lost their fear, he didn’t really know how to approach a fight as an underdog.

I believe this personality trait also is the reason his come-from-behind record is not as impressive as most of his other statistics.

Tiger’s adoring fans are a fickle sort. He is a hero today, then it’s on the next Michael Jordan tomorrow. What Tiger has never been able to do is get people to love him for the ages like they did and still do to Arnie and Jack.

Great golfer. Lousy husband. Decent father, but at 39 and some serious back problems that I think he never quite let heal properly, he's a long shot at best. I'm not saying he can't make it happen but aside from the physical ailments, mentally he is not the same person he was 5 to 10 years ago. You know, back when he was a bad boy but a great golfer.

That lifestyle fueled his confidence and his golf game like nitro-methane dragster fuel. And, as other golfers who faced him said, when he was in the tournament it was game over.

Tiger has lost his focus and his game now. If, and that's a big if, if he gets his confidence back, his pre-2009 attitude back, gives his back time to really heal and get strong again, he just might do it.

Tiger came to the PGA Tour for the kill shot and got it, but may have sacrificed something else in the long run that he may come to treasure one day only to find it gone. Hey, don’t misunderstand me, golf without Tiger is a tremendous void. I just wish he would have shown a little more or a lot more class on the way up.

Some day, he may wish he did too.

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