After winning five tournaments in 2013 and no official top 10’s so far in 2014, the question on everyone’s mind is “what’s really wrong with Tiger Woods“? His ability to stay healthy has to be an issue as the World’s number one approaches the Arnold Palmer Invitation, and the Masters next month. We all know how back issues have derailed some careers in the past, so could we be seeing the end of a dynasty that has lasted almost 20 years?
It’s difficult to comprehend how one year can make such a difference, but in Tiger’s case it has. Can it be that his workout regimen has compromised his golf swing?
After discussing that particular scenario with some of the folks at the Golf Community, most say no. The need for Tiger to find power someplace other than snapping his left knee like he did before his surgery demands that he continue to do the reps in the gym.
While the length that most of the venues have added to their courses to compensate for innovations in equipment design, has sure done it’s share of neutralizing Tiger Woods’ game, I felt he had a great game plan in 2013 where he found a lot of fairways, and perfected one of the best iron games on the tour. Especially his wedge game.
In an article on ESPN Golf, senior golf writer, Michael Collins thinks if Tiger is to have any chance at Augusta this year, his putting will have to improve, starting at Bay Hill this week.
The best thing for Tiger’s game going into Augusta will be his putting. Last year he averaged 28.85 putts per round in 68 rounds. This year in 14 rounds he’s averaging 27.7 and we know at Augusta it’s all about the flatstick. One thing he can always keep sharp is the putter.
I have always been a firm believer that if you want to win golf tournaments, you have to be able to putt. That’s why Sam Snead always said “Drive for Show, Putt for Dough”. When Slammin Sammy made that statement, he left out the part where a good drive to the right spot on the fairway, and an excellent approach shot set up that successful putter.
I heard an interesting comment during the broadcast from Copperhead this week concerning 2013 Rookie of the year Jordan Spieth. Although he has played himself to the top of some leaderboards this year, he just doesn’t look as sharp as he did when the season ended last December.
I think it was Frank Nobilo who mentioned that Jordan’s approach shots were ending an average of five feet further from the flag than it did last year, and thus, put more pressure on that first putt. Tiger has not been in position this year where he has had a lot of makeable putts.
If you take a look at Tiger Woods’ game in 2013, you saw a wedge game that was spot on. From 2012 to the 2013 season, it appeared Tiger had put a ton of work into the accuracy of his wedge game that in turn gave him makeable putts instead of lag putts.
His accuracy was so good on Friday at Augusta last year that it cost him a real shot at a fifth Green Jacket. His wedges were dialed in, and the unlucky incident at 15 was due to how good his iron play had become.
With all of that being said, I disagree with the putter being the problem with Tiger’s game. I think it starts with that tee-shot being in the right place. If he would follow Ben Hogan’s advice that you play golf from the green back to the tee in your mind, he would find his winning ways again.
If Tiger Woods can stay healthy for 72 holes of golf at Augusta, you have to put him in the mix for a Sunday afternoon run at another Green Jacket for his wardrobe. If not, he doesn’t stand a chance with the field that is expected to tee off at Augusta next month.
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