A Tiger lost in the Woods.

It’s always risky business writing-off a champion, regardless of their chosen sport and the circumstances surrounding their loss of form, so I write these words tentatively. However, as the once feared Tiger Woods enters his 15th season on the PGA Circuit, serious questions are being asked as to whether or not he has the ability to bounce back to the Tiger Woods of old, and once again become a dominant force on the PGA Tour.

When his past marital infidelities came to light in December 2009, with massive worldwide media coverage which would eventually last for several months, Woods announced an indefinite break from competitive golf at the end of 2009. However he apologised for his behaviour at a news conference held at PGA Tour headquarters on the 19th of February 2010 and also revealed that he would be making his comeback and playing in the 2010 Masters.

Things however haven’t returned to normal for the 14-time Major winner, who before the controversies, was widely tipped to pass Jack Nicklaus’ all-time record of 18 Major victories. Woods is still five Major titles away, a target that hasn’t altered since his win at the 2008 US Open Championships.

Major tournaments aside, Woods hasn’t won any of the 14 tournaments he’s competed in since his return and has only finished in the top 10 on two occasions. Furthermore, when comparing his 2010 & 2011 (Post-Break) tournament statistics to his 2008 & 2009 (Pre-Break) tournament statistics, the alarming fall from grace is made even clearer;

  Events Cuts Made Victories Top 10
2008 & 2009 (Pre-Break) 23 22 (96%) 10 (43%) 20 (87%)
2010 & 2011 (Post-Break) 14 13 (93%) 0 (0%) 2 (14%)

An even greater cause for concern though is not simply Woods poor finishes, but the way in which he is playing. As highlighted below, almost every aspect of his game when compared to that of his opponents is well below the PGA average;

  Score Distance Accuracy G.I.R.
Woods 71.75 296.00 44.64% 66.67%
PGA Average 70.34 286.30 59.60% 69.23%

The statistics highlight just how far Woods has slipped since (arguably) the biggest scandal to hit professional sport was revealed.

Golf is certainly one of just a few sports where age doesn’t necessarily play a pivotal role in determining results (or lack of), however even Woods must be aware that as he approaches his 36th birthday, time is slowly starting to run out in his quest to break Nicklaus’ long-standing record.

Like Michael Jordan, Shane Warne and various other sporting champions of recent decades, it’s quite possible for athletes to return to the top of their respective sport after a prolonged break. Those close to Tiger will be waiting with bated breath for that all-important next tournament victory.

However as every unsuccessful tournament goes by, the seeds of doubt in Woods’ mind will continue to grow and like the so-called golfing experts who claim his best is behind him, he too will wonder if he’ll ever return to greatness.



5 responses to “A Tiger lost in the Woods.

  1. Pingback: Tiger Woods... His comeback! - Golf Forum - Golf Tips & PGA Golf Forums

  2. Well I have to believe his come back will have a little bit to do by how his competition plays. I believe he will win some more tournaments, and probably even a few more majors. Will He break Jack’s record? Most likely he will, but it will not surprise me if he fails to do so.

    I am also of the belief that he is still carrying around a lot of excess baggage, both mentally, and physically. He needs to rid himself of the excess stuff to start playing well again. Then again, for all we know the guy might still have some skeletons in a closet some where. Some of those skeletons might be of a physical nature.

    Will he return to his pre, turkey day, fire hydrant form? I don’t think so, but then again that depends on his competition, and how well they do, or don’t play. It use to be a common thought among most of his competition, that when Tiger showed up at a tournament, his competition was playing for second place. Not so anymore.

    I don’t watch much stroke play golf on TV, so his winning, or losing in this format is of no consequence to me. I do like to watch match play however. The golf just gets better with each day of the tournament. I like to watch good golf being played, in the “win, or go home” format.

    Even if he does break Jack’s Record, I will always believe Jack played against tougher competition.

  3. There is an old saying that “form is temporary but class is permanent.” Its a bit simplistic really but it is a fair indicator of what Woods could achieve if his form from pre 2009 returns. But let’s not forget that although he’s a really fit guy he’s not as fit as he was 10 yrs back. The clock is ticking…

    However, I think there needs to be at least one fundimental change in what Woods does. He needs to find a swing coach who will work with him to achieve the swing he had back then. His current swing is butt ugly compared to the one of pre ’09, and the amount of time spent off the fairway is hurting his scores. Its probably hurting him mentally too, whilst giving his fellow competitors a huge mental boost to see that he his now easily beatable. Next, I think he needs to start competing on a regular basis as he did when he first came out on tour. He needs to relearn to compete when the heat is on.

    I hope he does return to top form because he was stunning to watch, and in reality if he does return to that level there isn’t anyone close to that level to challenge him. Which leads onto Froggie’s point about Jack’s competitors. Jack had Arnie, Gary Player, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson who all could push him close on any given day. Tiger has/had Mickleson and one or two others who looked like they might but never got close.

  4. I often wonder if Tiger can’t return to either of his old, successful swings due to the damage to his knee(s, achilles, or other body parts. I remember back when he was with Harmon, there was a lot of talk about his knees not holding up very long with the swing he was using at that time. Some of that talk came from golf commentators. Sure enough his knee(s) eventually failed him. Did the commentators know something? Who knows? Maybe they finally got something right.

    Then there was the achilles injury. Who know what caused that. I believe that happened while he was with Haney.

    As for the swing he had with Haney, it gave out about the same time he went through all his personal problems. In that case perhaps it was a mental deal, so he thought a new swing might be better. A new start so to speak. We’ll never know.

    His new swing really looks rugged, but I think what is actually letting him down is his short game, especially his putting. He never was very good at hitting a lot of fairways, but his approach game to greens was nothing short of spectacular.

    Only time will tell if his able to recover from his present slump.

  5. Perfect just what I was looking for! .

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