Tag: Tiger Woods
Rumor has it, when you play at the Olympic Club it is always going to be the wrong guy who wins the US Open. And boy, did they get that one right. At the beginning of the week, the press and the media were all talking about Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods fighting for another win at the US Open. Later on, as the tournament kicked in and Phil Mickelson had just one of his worst starts ever, attention shifted and although Tiger was still in the pack, everybody was talking about Jim Furyk and how he was starting to dominate on Saturday, and could be in his way to win his second US Open.
And yet, the Olympic Club golf course proved to be a really though match for the field and at the end, it was not about mastering the golf course. In my humble opinion, and I must confess I’m not a big fan of the sport and not very savvy in this field, this tournament was a bit like a survival contest. At the end, when all the great names in this sport had failed, Webb Simpson took the win because quite simply, he was the last man standing. The golf course itself took care of all the rest. That been said, I don’t mean to belittle Simpsons talent or effort. Don’t get me wrong, he did had a phenomenal weekend, keeping it cool thru the first rounds and kicking it in on Monday. Simpson finished the day with four birdies in a five-hole stretch around the turn, and a tough par from the collar of the 18th green for a 2-under 68.
He then returned to the locker room and watched from a small television as Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell tried to catch him. These two guys trailing him had both won this tournament and they knew exactly what it took to finish here first. And yet little by little it became evident that the guy in the locker room would be the one winning this year’s US Open. Simpson sat next to his pregnant wife and watched as Furyk bogeyed two of his last three holes, and McDowell couldn’t recover from a bad start and too many tee shots in the rough. He hugged his wife and began to celebrate as McDowell’s 25-foot birdie putt to force a playoffs stayed left of the cup.
The Olympic Club is informally known as the graveyard of champions. Simpson came out from a fog-filled final round at the U.S. Open championship and with his first mayor win, he put two more names into the graveyard of champions. Furyk and McDowell joined a group of proven major winners who were poised to win the U.S. Open — Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Payne Stewart – and ended up losing to the underdog. “I never really wrapped my mind around winning,” said Simpson after winning his first mayor after only 5 appearances, “This place is so demanding, and so all I was really concerned about was keeping the ball in front of me and making pars.”
I’m still not sure how to approach this news. For starters, we are reporting on Tiger Woods, and that on itself is already some sort of issue. Let’s face it, for the last two years Tiger Woods has made the headlines for all the wrong reasons. He was a breath of fresh air when he first came into the PGA tour. He was seen as a motivational and somewhat iconoclastic figure in the elitist and somewhat snobby world of professional golf. When the young Tiger Woods dominated the pack at Pebble Beach, even those of us not very fond of golf were turning our heads.
Ever since he began to dominate the PGA Tour and pick up masters, we had set some really high expectations for the Tiger. He made us believe that he would break all of the records; nothing could stand in the way of the promising young star. As I write these sentences Tiger Woods has won 14 professional major golf championships, the second highest of any male player (Jack Nicklaus leads with 18), and 71 PGA Tour events, third all time behind Sam Snead and Nicklaus. What is disappointing in that Tiger hasn’t won a single tournament in more then 2 years and his latest starts have been an utter disaster for the former No.1 player in the world. Tiger is currently No. 28.
Changes are coming his way. Tiger Woods has made an impressive effort to unlink himself from everything that had carried him to the top of the golfing world. He is letting go of everything, from the putter that brought him so many titles, to the wife and family, to the caddie and best man at his own wedding; it all has to go with the wind. At least that is what it all appears like. Just a couple weeks ago he fired his caddie since 1999 Steve Williams and despite all his good intentions, one can’t help but to wonder if Tiger Woods is really back. And if he is, what does it all really mean? Is he going to be the dominant force that at his finest was crushing the field by double figures or is he just going to be a semblance, something of a reminiscent of the former world-class athlete?
A year ago at this same tournament, we all witnessed how Woods’ ship sank. The guy who used to win tournaments by double digits was facing a very overwhelming defeat. A year ago at the WGC-Bridgeston Invitational Tiger Woods shot 18-over par and finished 30 strokes behind winner Hunter Mahan. This mishap happened not in any tournament; this epic failure came at a tournament Tiger Woods had won seven times.
Tiger now faces a scenario his has never seen as a pro: struggling to qualify for the next tour and its first tournament. If Tiger intends to play any more on the PGA Tour, he will need to qualify for the tour’s playoff series. Only the top 125 make the first tournament, the Barclays, and Woods is currently 133rd, 21 points behind Matt Jones.
A finish of 50th or better in the 76-player field would help Woods squeak into the top 125 with the PGA and the Wyndham Championship as the last qualifying events. To advance, Woods would need to be among the top 100 heading into the Deutsche Bank Championship, the top 70 before the BMW Championship — where he won his last PGA Tour event in 2009 and the top 30 for the Tour Championship, which he missed last year. Yes, Tiger, it’s all uphill from here.
A few months ago, while playing at Augusta National, Tiger Woods hit an awkward shot along the 17th Fairway. It was the last time he played this season. Little after the incident there was a report in his website stating the Woods had suffered a minor injury and had irritated his left knee and his left Achilles tendon. It didn’t seem like that much of a deal at that point, but sure enough, it was just the kind of news that some fans were waiting for. This injury was some sort of omen. Since the incident with the driving his SUV into a tree back in 2009, Tiger Woods hasn’t been the player, the star, that many of us fall for.
We knew his personal life was a mess once and the guy who apparently had it all and always kept his cool no matter the circumstances was falling apart. In a matter of months he was facing a multimillion dollar divorce, losing the custody of his children, losing millions in advertisements and endorsements, losing the top spot in the PGA Tour and quite frankly, for a moment there it seemed as if he was losing his game as well.
Woods announced Tuesday he will skip this month’s British Open. To be quite honest here, this decision is of little surprise to anyone in golf. He hasn’t played since he withdrew during the first round of the Players Championship in early May. What is hard to believe is that for the first time in a while he is sitting out two major championships. The thing here is that he always used to define his year and his career based on his performance on these tournaments. And if we look at it from a straightforward point of view, he might as well just give up coming back this year.
On his website, Tiger Woods gave out the following statement: “I do not want to risk further injury. That’s different for me, but I’m being smarter this time. I’m very disappointed and want to express my regrets to the British Open fans.” It seems that it is time to give up on certain things, certain goals. For instance, there is the chase to break Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 major championships. It just goes without saying that its further and further away. Woods is stuck on 14, with three lengthy stretches away from the game (one personal, two injuries).
Tiger Woods is going to be 36 in December and the clock is ticking on the likelihood he can regain the momentum to win five more majors and accomplish what once seemed inevitable. Woods has won 71 official PGA Tour events including 14 majors. He is 14–1 when going into the final round of a major with at least a share of the lead. He has been heralded as “the greatest closer in history” by multiple golf experts. He owns the lowest career scoring average and the most career earnings of any player in PGA Tour history.
He has spent the most consecutive and cumulative weeks atop the world rankings. He is one of five players (along with Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, and Jack Nicklaus) to have won all four professional major championships in his career, known as the Career Grand Slam, and was the youngest to do so.
Many of Tiger Woods fans where already suspecting it, but the legendary Tiger Woods is going to miss his first US Open since, well, since 1994, when he was a Senior in High School. This is the only tournament that Tiger Woods hadn’t miss since he became a professional. We could venture and say that this tournament holds a special place in his heart. He has been very successful in the US Open. Tiger Wood has won the US Open in 2000, 2002 and 2008, as part of his impressive 14 Mayor Championships.
Tiger Woods said he was hoping to fully recover for the AT&T National, which starts June 30 at Aronomink, and the next two majors. And yet we can’t help but to have our doubts. We must not forget that this is pretty much what he said two weeks ago when he said he will do all he could to be in shape and ready for the U.S. Open. And let’s face it, it’s quite evident that the US Open is quite more significant than the AT&T National.
Despite the many injuries he has suffered throughout his career, the Masters is now the only major Woods has played every year since turning pro. He was recovering from knee surgery in 2008 and did not play in the British Open and PGA Championship. But after the obligatory break and once he had recovered he came back with a vengeance. The most recent of four surgeries on Woods’ left knee came a week after the 2008 U.S. Open, which Woods won in a playoff for his 14th major.
Tiger underwent reconstructive surgery and was out for eight months. And then came what we previously called the vengance. He returned and won seven times the following year, and things were looking brilliantly optimistic in 2009. Many of the reporters and commentators who follow the sport closely were not wondering whether he will catch up with Phil Mickelson but when. We had no doubt that he would become the greatest player in golf’s long history. Little did we know that just as his professional life was reaching new heights, his personal life was about to hit rock bottom. On Thanksgiving night in 2009, Tiger Wood’s personal life imploded and soon after, his game was following that same decline.
The U.S. Open will be the 12th straight major without Woods winning, the longest drought of his career. He remains four majors short of the 18 professional majors that Nicklaus won, the ultimate benchmark in golf. Now it’s not going to get any prettier for Tiger. It really seems that its all uphill from now on. It’s not as if Tiger is not going to win another tournament, its just that he is probably not going to be the dominant force we once knew.
Woods hasn’t won since the 2009 Australian Masters. That’s a stretch of 22 tournaments, the longest he has ever gone without a title. He not only lost his No. 1 ranking late last year. Let’s not forget he had dominated the PGA tour for almost a decade before he plunged to No. 15 in the world, his lowest spot in the ranking since the spring of 1997. It might be the end of an era. Or perhaps its just the right preamble for one of the greatest comebacks in this sport. We’ll be kind enough to give Tiger the benefit of the doubt.