Tiger falls short of his own expectations at this year’s Masters.
April 9, 2012
By Herschel CaldwellTiger Woods arrived at Augusta National with a totally different set of expectations than when he left the course on Sunday afternoon.
A 74 on Sunday put Woods at 5-over 293 for the Masters, which was his worst four-round score since he posted the same number as a first-time amateur way back in 1995. He shot a 291 in 2007, but that was good enough for second that year, when it was windy and bitterly cold. When he left the course Sunday, he was tied for 41st, the same spot he finished in 1995.
He seemed honest and upbeat about the week and his “work in process.” “It was an off week at the wrong time,” he said.
”If I look back on the week, I played the par 5s atrociously,” he said. “This is a golf course you just have to dominate the par 5s, and I did not do that at all this week.”
Expectations that Woods would win again skyrocketed two weeks ago when he won at Bay Hill – his first PGA Tour victory in 30 months.
“It’s just the way it is,” Woods said Sunday. “I’m trying to compete, and unfortunately I just didn’t play well this week.”
Woods has been stuck on 14 major championships, four shy of Jack Nicklaus’ record, since winning the U.S. Open in a playoff in 2008. Since then, there have been major changes in his personal and professional life including new injuries that have kept him off the course for long stretches.For most fans and casual golf observers, Tiger’s swing changes have been ill timed or deemed unnecessary but few realizes that golf is a lifetime sport and pacing your body for the long haul is nothing like the sprint required by almost all other major sports where speed, and strength in the short term is paramount. Foley (Tiger’s swing coach) is wise to guide this superstar toward the long term in swing fitness.
”What’s frustrating is I know what to do, and I just don’t do it. I get out there and I just don’t trust it at all,” Woods said. “I can get it on the range, I can get it dialed in there. We’ll work on the same things and it feels really good, and I go to the golf course and I just don’t quite trust it. It just means I just need to do more reps.”
When Woods won at Bay Hill, many saw it as a sign that he had mastered the changes he’d made with Foley.
”When you get into tough situations, you revert back to your old motor patterns,” Woods said. “That’s kind of what happened to me this week.”
But he has no doubt he’s on the right path.
”You’re still always working on little things. I know the big things that we’re working on are done, but it’s the little things, too, now,” Woods said. “The details sometimes can be magnified. Especially on a golf course like this, it doesn’t take much. You’re a yard off here or there, which happened to be quite often, and next thing you know, I’m 40, 50 feet away.”
At 36, Tiger has ten to fifteen years of regular PGA Tour events in front of him. If he accomplishes only 30% of what he has in the first fifteen years he will have fulfilled his father’s prediction that “Tiger is the one.”