So what did we learn this weekend? Well, for one, Tiger Woods is still a pretty damn good golfer. But, he does still have flaws in his game, most notably off the tee. For about ¾ of the Farmers Insurance Open, it looked like Tiger was going to blow away the field. He was cruising with a 6 shot lead heading into a Monday finish. It seemed like a forgone conclusion he would take home a W for the 7th time in this tournament’s history. But then Tiger started spraying his driver all over the place. He couldn’t hit a fairway. It didn’t matter, however, as he still finished with an easy 4 shot victory.
But the finish by Tiger does raise some questions moving forward, most notably, why can’t Tiger finish? And more importantly, will he be able to close in a major? We saw it last year for maybe the first time ever. Tiger with a lead in a major heading into the weekend, only to fade on Saturday and Sunday. Huh? The biggest closer in the history of the sport can’t bring home a win?
There were shades of that Monday. Tiger was playing so well for the first 3 rounds and change. Like really well. He was reminding us of 2000 Tiger. Maybe even better since he was hitting fairways. His swing looked so fundamentally sound. His short game and wedge game were on point. He was hitting flag sticks from 100 yards out. Then, something happened. What that something is, I have no idea.
Some will point to the slow play as the cause of Tiger’s struggles down the stretch on Monday. Others will say he had such a big lead that his head wasn’t in it. While that certainly makes sense, I am not completely sold on that. Let’s remember last year. Tiger had the 36 hole lead at the US Open. In the past, he was a lock to contend down the stretch. He was in it in the British, then he had a major brain fart and almost hit himself with a bunker shot. He was around in the PGA before…okay, no one was going to beat Rory in the PGA.
I never thought I would say this, but Tiger’s mental game might not be strong enough to win a major this year or maybe ever. I do believe he will be able to win regular tournaments with his B or C game. He won’t be able to do that in majors. He needs his A game for 4 straight rounds. To do that, he needs to get his head right. He can hit all the balls he wants. He can talk about the “process.” But that’s BS at this point. He has been working with Sean Foley for too long. His swing was locked in during rounds 1-3. His short game is back to the level we are accustomed to.
I guess the moral of this story is that Tiger Woods is one of the best golfers on the planet. He’s top 10. But unless he gets his head screwed on right, he won’t win another major. Young, fearless guys like Rory, Rickie Fowler, Keegan Bradley, and so on will take him down. To me, this is one of the top storylines to watch leading up to Augusta. Maybe Tiger can go see a hypnotist or a witch doctor? Maybe he needs to go back to banging whores? Whatever he is doing now is not working.