|Tiger not the same anymore|
|Tuesday, August 14, 2012|
With each passing Major golf tournament, the odds of Tiger Woods passing Jack Nicklaus as the all-time leader in Major championships grow longer.
This is not the Tiger that once had the PGA Tour by the tail.
This is not the Tiger Woods that, when he showed up at a Major, everyone in the field didn’t think they were playing for second. They knew it.
Woods has been possessed with becoming the all-time leader in winning Major tournaments.
There are only four a year – the Masters, U.S. and British Opens and the PGA Championship.This year, Woods failed to register a single round under par on weekend rounds in all four Majors.
Tiger Woods used to own the weekends. Now he more resembles a weekend golfer.
Surprisingly, the greatest golfer of his era has never won a Major while trailing going into the final round.
He used to ambush the field on Saturday, moving day as it is known to the pros. When Tiger was on the prowl, he moved right past the field and was sitting atop the leaderboard going into Sunday.
Nicklaus won 18 Majors in his career. Tiger had a poster of Nicklaus in his bedroom as a child golf prodigy.
Often what you want the most, becomes the most difficult to obtain.
Woods is 36 now, turns 37 in December. He has played incredible golf for most of those 36 years. He has also put a lot of hard miles on his body and mind.
There is a new crop of younger, talented players every year. And Woods still has to win four Majors to tie Nicklaus, five to beat him.
Woods is arguably the most driven golfer in the game. He leads the money list this year. He is first in Ryder Cup and FedEx rankings. He has won three times.
But where his mere presence used to intimidate other golfers, such is no longer the case.
The Rory McIlroys of the world aren’t afraid of Tiger Woods. Neither are the ones who have competed against him for years on the PGA Tour.
His prime was 1999-2002, when he won seven Majors. He simply doesn’t have the game he once had. He has changed swings and swing coaches. He went through arguably the most widely publicized divorce.
I don’t think Woods’ major problem is his swing, or putting, or a lack of focus.
I think most of what ails Woods is between his ears. He doesn’t seem to be able to hone in on his game for four rounds and block out all the distractions he has acquired since his infidelity with a number of women became a daily soap opera.
“The thing is to keep putting myself there,’’ he alibied after the PGA Championship.
He blamed his third round game plan for taking him out of contention at Kiawah Island.
Tied for the lead when he teed off, Woods bogeyed three of his first seven holes and never recovered.
“I was too relaxed and tried to enjoy it and that’s not how I play,’’ Woods said. “I play full systems go, all out, intense and that’s how I won 14 of these things.’’
Woods has been more congenial on the course, with playing partners and fans. He has been more open during interviews than ever before.
That is not Tiger Woods. That is someone trying to reinvent himself. And failing.