Tiger Woods has tweaked his swing, but he is not getting the desired results. Photo by Jeff Lewis
After Tiger Woods failed to make the cut at the PGA Championship this past weekend; questions about his future viability as a golfer are valid.
For much of the first two days of the PGA Championship, Tiger Woods, after getting off to a nice start, could be seen using a sand-wedge in an attempt to dig himself out of the golf course’s bunkers.
Those scenes of Woods struggling to correct errand shots after a quick start were a perfect microcosm of his career at this point.
Woods jumped out the gates quickly; however, self-inflicted mistakes derailed him.
That’s been the story of the world’s former No. 1 golfer. Woods missed the cut at the event after shooting 10-over 150 at the Atlanta Athletic Club.
Back-to-back bogeys at the 11th and 12th holes sealed his fate as he missed the cut by six strokes, during two days of constantly putting the ball in the drink and in the sand.
Missing a tournament for any other golfer isn’t that big of a deal, however, when it’s Woods, all hell breaks loose.
It wasn’t just the fact that Woods failed to make the cut in a major for only the third time during his professional career, but the dismal and sloppy play he displayed along the way was telling.
After Woods tied for the lead after five holes, it was all downhill. He resembled a common weekend warrior playing at the local municipal course for the rest of his short stint.
Part of Woods’ struggles the past few years have been marked by his wild inconsistencies. This past weekend was no exception. Following the good start, Woods shot a 7-over-par 77, his worst round ever at the PGA.
After the awful showing, Woods is the 33rd ranked golfer in the world according to the latest World Golf Rankings. And to make matters worse, there are 12 other Americans ahead of the world’s most recognizable golfer.
Woods’ performance at the Bridgestone Invitational the week prior to the PGA was supposed to be a tune-up after he missed three months with Achilles and leg injuries, but that proved to be for naught.
Woods missed the U.S. Open and British Open during his injury and it showed. The lack of competitive play lately seemed to leave him flummoxed when he encountered problems on the course.
It’s surreal to see Woods struggle to this extent, especially if you grew accustomed to seeing him stay calm under fire while his opponents usually melted under the pressure.
So, where does Woods stand now?
He hasn’t won a major since 2008’s U.S. Open, and the Masters Tournament earlier this year was the last time he showed signs of the old Tiger, finishing fourth.
He still has 14 majors under his belt, trailing Jack Nicklaus’ all-time record, 18. And time is on Woods’ side as well. He’s only 35 years old.
But, let’s not kid ourselves. Unless Woods gets his swing straightened out and fully recovers from a litany of injuries, having reservations about whether he’ll ever revert back to past greatness is valid.
Woods seemed to hint to an Associated Press reporter that health and not effectiveness was his No. 1 priority right now.
He said, “I think it’s a step back in the sense that I didn’t make the cut and I’m not contending in the tournament.”
“But it’s a giant leap forward in the fact that I played two straight weeks, healthy,” he continued. “That’s great for our practice sessions coming up. We are going to now be able to work and get after it. Something I haven’t been able to do.”
I sure hope so. I’ll gladly concede and attribute some of Woods’ bad play to injury. There’s no other logical reason to explain why Luke Donald is No. 1 in the world while Woods dwells in the doldrums.
Other athletes such as Michael Vick, Muhammad Ali and Magic Johnson are the only examples I can cite of guys at the pinnacle of their careers who suffered falls similar to Woods.
All of those guys overcame decisions and circumstances, recovered, and are still revered to this day. Woods’ future could hold the same fate.
It’s OK to pull the proverbial towel out of your pocket, but it would be premature to throw it in.
Woods may just find his way out of this bunker just yet.
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