Tuesday, January 25

Will Tiger Regain His Dominant Form?

WILL TIGER WOODS EVER BE the same? That’s a burning question as Tiger begins his 16th season on the PGA Tour this week at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. It has been nearly 500 days since Tiger last won on the PGA Tour. It has been two and a half years since he won his 14th major at the same course where he begins his 2011 campaign.

The boys are not afraid of Tiger. They give him respect, as they should, but they believe he is beatable. The boys are very good. And there are more of them. This will make Tiger’s latest comeback harder.

I expect Tiger to groove his new Sean Foley swing, especially with the irons. I’m in the wait-and-see camp when it comes to his driver. Even when Tiger’s swing was at its best through the years, he hit far too many crazy-wild drives. They appeared out of nowhere. I think he’s a head case when it comes to the driver. Foley can’t solve that.

My hunch is that Tiger will not reach the same dizzying heights in golf. He’ll still win, but not as much.

Will he catch and pass the majors record of Jack Nicklaus?

I’d put that at even money. I won’t be shocked either way. I’m leaning toward no. I just don’t see Tiger being as dominant. That’s not a knock, especially when you consider the run he’s had.

One of Tiger’s short-term problems is regaining his confidence. Winning breeds winning. Not winning breeds frustration and despair. Whatever you point to as the reasons—and there are plenty—Tiger hasn’t won in a long while. It has eroded his confidence. He is human, after all.

Finally, I’ve noticed for nearly three years that Tiger doesn’t have the same magic on the greens. I’m speaking primarily of the majors. I think I first detected it at the 2008 Masters. Except for his epic playoff victory at the U.S. Open that same year, Tiger’s putter has been suspect at recent majors.

Last year, I was aghast when Tiger complained about the greens at Pebble Beach. Can you imagine the 2000 Tiger griping? That kid rolled in everything on Pebble’s crusty putting surfaces.

Indeed, the putter may be Tiger’s biggest long-term problem. He wouldn’t be alone. All the greats eventually lost their mastery of the greens, except for the man Tiger is chasing. Nicklaus putted exceptionally well throughout his long career. Tiger will need to regain his clutch putting touch if he hopes to overtake Jack.

−The Armchair Golfer

(Photo credit: Keith Allison, Flickr, Creative Commons license)


Dutch said...

Yes he will win multiple times in 2011.

Tiger's problem in 2010 were emotional scarring.He didn't suffer some horrendous physical injury that left him unable to physically play golf.His abilities are still there.

Why most conclude that just cuz an emotionally wounded Tiger couldn't get it together in 2010 to win holds true for 2011, or like some sports writers conclude that he is "done".....well really ?

Look,Tiger is more comfortable with whom he is at this time than he was at anytime in 2010.And from the little I have seen of his body language look out folks.Don't be surprised when he starts piling up the wins again.

Anonymous said...

If Tiger is a "head case" with the driver as you said, How in the name of "Armchair" was he able to win 87 tourneys around the world in 13+ years? Comment makes no sense when you look at the full picture. As usual with Tiger, gross exaggeration abounds. I figure to get an exact talley of bad drives vs good drives for a year in rounds played, you would have to decide to follow and chart Woods at all tourneys

The Armchair Golfer said...

Anonymous: Tiger has won all those tournaments despite being an inaccurate driver of the golf ball, an amazing feat.

Dating back to 2000, here are Tiger's driving accuracy statistics:

2000: 71,22% Rank: 54
2001: 65.48% Rank: 145
2002: 67.52% Rank: 107
2003: 62.71% Rank: 142
2004: 56.13% Rank: 182
2005: 54.58% Rank: 191
2006: 60.71% Rank: 139
2007: 59.83% Rank: 152
2008: 57.86% Rank: (not listed)
2009: 64.29% Rank: 86
2010: 57.21% Rank: (not listed)
(Source: TigerWoods.com)

Based on the statistics, and based on what I've seen over the years -- many, many drives flying way right -- I don't accept your charge of "gross exaggeration."

Dutch said...

Armchair Golfer is right with regards to Tiger & his driving abilities.
Woods was a decent driver off the tee with Butch Harmon.Haney made Tiger an ineffective driver off the tee.
Haney's defense was that Tiger was more accurate off the tee with him,....well cuz Tiger was using 3wood off the tee almost 80% of the time as opposed to driver.

So even with marginal ability off the tee with driver in hand,Tiger won many tournaments.It demonstrates his enormous abilities.He is that good.