Tiger Robs Everyone of 80-Watch.

Achilles!

Tiger certainly has no shortage of fatal flaws it seems.  The latest chapter in the saga, “Will Tiger Ever Win Again,” played out in especially sad fashion this morning.  By the time most people got around to their morning internet shuffle, Tiger was already well over par at the Players.  He made a seven on the fourth hole after dunking two balls into the water, and from there stumbled in for a 42 on the front nine–a shocking score for someone of Tiger’s caliber, regardless of his form.

As gruesome as the number was, I for one, could not look away and settled in to see what kind of history Tiger could make.  If Tiger has a round in the 80s as a professional, it came at a wind and rain-swept British Open venue, but his rounds anywhere near 80 in reasonable conditions can be counted on one hand (This is a guy who went YEARS without even missing a cut).  He shot a 79 at Quail Hollow last year, but a nice round 80 is something entirely different.  I admit I pay an unusual amount of attention to the bottom of the leader board.  Sometimes you see some interesting things down there.  That’s where John Daly blows up, where David Duval makes his interesting bogeys, and where Monday qualifiers and over-matched sponsor invites light up the board with a sea of doubles.

Tiger is foreign to this territory, which makes it all the more captivating.  When he bogeyed the ninth hole (a par five) after being just off the green in two shots, it really looked like the train had derailed.  A thirty-seven on the back nine seemed too tall an order.  I had a feeling Tiger was headed toward a humbling bit of history, but then he withdrew.  The second straight year he pulled out mid-round at Sawgrass.  If you remember last year, it was that peculiar neck ailment.  This year, it was the knee and achilles tendon issue that had sidelined him last week, and perhaps his pride as well?

I know Tiger is hurt.  You can see it on his face during the round, but this is a guy that won the U.S. Open on one leg. The Players is a far cry from the U.S. Open, but I have to think if Tiger managed a 35 or 36 on the front nine, he’d still be out there.  He’d tough it out, see how things feel tomorrow at the very least.  But, when you are already 11 or 12 shots back and you’ve only been out there for two hours, it doesn’t make much sense risking further damage to what is becoming an increasingly brittle frame.  It robbed us all of some, will Tiger shoot Jerry Rice or higher, but in the end no surprise at all that Tiger is sitting out.

I think Tiger’s injuries have officially surpassed his swing issues and mental strength at this point in his “recovery.”  The injuries are what forced him to change his swing in the first place, so even though his putting woes and some other things may be mental, Tiger is really just breaking down physically before our eyes.  His decline is reminiscent of an NFL running back.  Like I said before, last year it was a nagging neck and shoulder problem, now it’s the always troublesome left knee.  He simply can’t get anywhere near 100% health.

And, Tiger has always been a worker.  Sure, he’s a natural talent, but he also put in incredible amounts of time on the range.  He physically can’t do that anymore.  He can’t practice at all right now.  The guy was walking around in a protective boot after the Masters, hardly touched a club for about a month, and now pulls out after nine holes this week.  Forget about winning, when will Tiger be able to hit balls for three or four hours straight again?   I’m sure his camp will be especially mum about this as always, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the severity of things forced them to say something.  The Memorial is in a few weeks, the U.S. Open is about a month away.  I don’t see how Tiger is ready to be a factor in either of those events.  The guy needs repetition to rebuild confidence, the belief in his own game, but his body isn’t holding up to the beating any longer.

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11 thoughts on “Tiger Robs Everyone of 80-Watch.

  1. He’s not technically DAL this week, but if you had picked him DAL, I would give you the points.

    Assuming he has to shut it down for awhile: How many years in a row now has he missed a significant portion of the year due to injury? This will be the fourth year in a row, is that right?

    Age and injuries play out a little differently in golf than in baseball. But what would we say about a starting pitcher who only managed to start a handful of games per year between the ages of 32 and 35? Certainly the presumption would be that he would never be fully healthy again.

  2. Also, wasn’t there talk after the whole Torrey Pines thing that doctors had advised Woods not to play in that tournament because of the risk of permanent injury? Or if not permanent injury, at the risk of making things much worse in the future on that knee?

  3. Maybe he does need less coaching, only b/c his swing can then naturally adjust to what his body can do? To me, this is more like LaToe Tomlinson with the Jets. His body just won’t let him do physically what he could do at 22 (tomlinson, carry the ball 25x a game plus another 10-15 touches, Tiger hit absurd miracle shots), the shots he used to hit are too demanding on him and he can’t handle it. If he played within himself more, and himself now, not 3 years ago, he’d still be a top player and probably win some more majors. He won’t win them in Tiger Style, just running away and hiding, but he’ll win.

  4. I guess last year was Tiger’s healthiest. He missed the second half of ’08, part of ’09 with the surgery. Last year he had the self-imposed ban at the start of the year then just nagging injuries…they seem worse this year.

    I don’t remember exactly what was being said around that Open regarding the knee. You could be right.

    Compensating for the injury doesn’t have great history in terms of golf. That’s how several guys have lost their games completely (Duval).

    I think his swing changes are a more technical approach to protecting the leg, but it isn’t working.

  5. I guess i just wonder if he keeps trying to do things that his body just won’t let him anymore. Maybe his irons will lose distance, maybe he isn’t able to hit stinging shots or whatever that stuff is, b/c his body won’t let him and the more he tries it, the more it gives out. Or worse, as he tries it the body goes half way and that’s when all hell breaks loose.

  6. It’s been a long time, though, since he was hitting shots way past everyone else, or even hitting those stingers. My impression is that he started dialing all that back a long time ago.

  7. ryan howard’s best friend checked in with me today at work. he’s about 3 feet tall, rocks a t-shirt that says, “BIG BROTHER.”

    his latest Phils report for me, and mind you – think about the impact he’s had on Howard…

    “RAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUULLLLLL Ibanez.”

    I went ahead, hope I have the authrity, for giving the kid credit for pulling ole Ibanez (a city of Southern Spain) out of a slump. Yet, speaking of the city, i think there was an earthquake near there, yesterday. Well, not that far away. I find it wildly creepy that Italy expected a Quake and Spain – with parts of the former Roman Empire still clear and present getting hit. Honestly, maybe it was God saying he finds the odd marches during Holy Week to be macabre and out of date.

    SEE, I RAMBLE WHEN I DONT HAVE MY SPORCLE QUIZ FIX??

    tried to tame me. Q-bird

  8. Tiger’s 12 step process to recovery

    1. Admit he stinks.

    2. Admit Nike stinks and go back to Titleist or Mizuno

    3. Admit his Nike putter blows and bury it at sea.

    4. Admit he has no clue what he is doing out there.

    5. Fire Stevie.

    6. Fire Sean Foley.

    7. Apologize to Butch.

    8. Beg for Butch to take him back.

    9. Play in more events and stop acting like he is trying to gear up for just the majors. (He couldn’t win the John Deere).

    10. Quit blaming injuries (See step 1 as a reference)

    11. No more facial har.

    12. Bang a bunch of hookers and drop the Buddhist thing.

    See how easy it is?

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