Tiger Woods was excited when he put the new Nike Covert 2.0 Driver in his bag over the holiday break, but he isn’t finding too much success with it in his first two tournaments. He has reverted to hitting his 3-wood on most of the par 5′s in Dubai at the Desert Classic, and has been unable to assault the long holes as he did when he was unbeatable on the tour.
It was apparent on the par 5 13th hole at the Emirates Golf Course on Thursday when he gave up 62 yards off the tee to playing partners Rory McIlroy and Stephen Gallacher. Tiger plays the 3 wood because he can’t keep the driver in-play. He scrambled to make a birdie at the 13th, but he had to work for it.
Giving up the yardage off the tee puts way too much pressure on the remainder of his game, and gives him no margin for errors. This is a problem that the world’s number one needs to fix if he intends to compete at the majors this year.
I guarantee that if he doesn’t straighten out the “Big Stick” before he gets to Augusta, he won’t have a chance to win his 5th Green Jacket. He continues to tell us that it is all work-in-progress, but he needs to fix the problem soon.
Tiger made the 36-hole cut in Dubai, and will get a chance to work on his game, but will not be around the leaderboard with a chance to win.
All one needs to do, is take a look at the statistics from his first two rounds at Dubai, to get a line on what is wrong. On Thursday Tiger hit only 7 of 14 fairways, and that number fell off on Friday where he hit only four fairways on the day. His distance is nice, at 305 yards on the average, but 40 yards off-line puts him in trouble on almost every hole where he uses the driver.
The “Talking Heads” around golf are all pointing to alignment on the tee as the big problem. Tiger continues to set-up for his patented cut shot, and he is hitting “hot pulls”. Most are saying he needs to get his aim point back toward the center of the fairway, and play for a straight ball-flight.
Tiger has struggled with his driver ever since his knee surgery after the 2008 US Open. His complete golf swing has been re-tooled with the help of various instructors to take the pressure off of his left knee. In days of old, Tiger snapped his left knee at impact to generate power, and he can no longer do that without re-injuring that knee.
It’s always difficult to watch aging athletes who are continuing to compete. Father Time waits for no-one not even Tiger Woods. Maybe it’s time to realize he will never be the player we saw in 2000, and just enjoy watching him play.
Maybe it’s time for Tiger Woods to accept that he is still a great player, but he will never be the player who dominated this game for a decade and a half. We all still love to watch him play, even if he isn’t winning majors every year!
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