What Should We Reasonably Expect from Tiger?


Be honest when you answer that question. Don’t let your off-course opinions jade your on-course thoughts.

Again, what do you reasonable expect from Tiger Woods this week at the Frys.com Open?

Take a moment to think it over…

Me? Before I tell you my vote, I want to cover a couple of bases here.

So Woods broke the course record at The Medalist Golf Club by firing a 62. If he played from the course’s Championship tees (which I highly suspect he did), the course lays out as a par-72 covering some 7,157 yards. CordeValle, this week’s stop, plays as a par-71 at about 7,368 yards.

Not much to read into that really except that maybe Tiger is starting to find a bit of his game.

Despite playing in only eights events this years, Woods has made six cuts, one MC (PGA Championship) and one W/D (The Players). Well, it’s only four cuts as The Tavistock and WGC-Bridgestone don’t have a cut. So after some re-configuring, that really makes four cuts made in six events. A 67%. Some guys would take that. That seems kinda low for Woods, but we all know the reasoning behind the number.

In viewing some stats, Tiger has fared as bad as you might think. No, it’s not glaring when you look at the bottom line (no wins in over two years), but there really could be light at the end of this now elongated tunnel.

One area Woods will most likely concentrate on is his driving accuracy. Hopefully the extended sessions with Sean Foley will improve on the 49.03% rate, 184th on the TOUR. While that looks dismal, his GIR is 67.17%, good for 34th. More hit fairways should result in less scrambles and a higher GIR.

Remember when Woods could with a certainty out drive his opposition? Me, too, but that’s not the case any longer. His average drive of 296.1 yards only gets him to 58th. With his accuracy being so low, Woods is seemingly behind the 8-ball on at least half of the holes he plays.

His play on par-5’s, an area where he also seemed to dominate the field, has fallen off, too. His total relative to par (albeit for 23 rounds) is -30. With the limited number of competitive rounds under his belt, that only ranks him as 181st. Take that for what it’s worth. And this, too. There are only three par-5’s at CordeValle.

Back to those 23 rounds. That doesn’t include his WD at The Players (and why should it) and The Tavistock (a bit of a different format). That’s all he’s played this year. Yes, there’s the whole injuries thing, but I have to wonder if the rust has developed to the point where it’s harder and harder to shake.

And the “fear factor” is gone. We’ve all heard and read so much about that. The sharpness of his game is lacking and so is the once-invincible aura.

Golf Channel has built up this week’s event by saying they’re covering all four rounds of Tiger’s return to the TOUR. While that may be overly optimistic, the potential of Woods playing only two rounds is slim. There are only three top-50 players in the field. It’s a field that in year’s past Tiger would dominate and take home the spoils of yet another tourney win.

But as GC’s John Hawkins says Tiger “moves the needle”. And he will for the Frys.com Open.

I do caution golf fans (and myself for that matter) not to be as overly optimistic. After all, Woods is still involved in re-working his swing and how he manages the course with this “new” swing. We saw at the PGA where he can trap himself in the thought process of “old swing vs. new swing”. It can prove to be a vital mistake. With this extended time off to work on that (and other areas of his game), I can see Tiger strolling to a top 25…at least.

No matter the result, golf fans should take it as it occurs. Don’t be too up and don’t be too down. He will have flashes of the past and flashes of what we observed at the WGC-Bridgestone.

And there’s not a lot anyone outside of Camp Tiger can do about that.