Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Worst Great Season in History?

As is his custom, Tiger Woods has won more golf tournaments this year than any other player. There is no doubt that he is the world's best player. But the standards that apply to Tiger Woods - self-imposed, in large part - do not apply to anyone else. Give all due credit to Y.E. Yang for his historic win, but make no mistake about it - Yang did not win this PGA Championship as much as Tiger Woods lost it.

In the first two majors of the year, you could chalk up Woods' 6th place finishes as the result of the rust from his long, surgery-imposed layoff. But I would imagine that right now, Woods thinks that his performances in the second two majors of the year - missing the cut at Turnberry, and now blowing the 36- and 54-hole leads at Hazeltine - are the worst of his career.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again - there are few things as painful to watch as Tiger when he is playing poorly. There's no Nicklaus-like stoicism in play here. Tiger dies a bit with each bad shot, letting the expletives fly and letting the bad body language take control, as if he were possessed by the soul of a weekend hacker who's had one too many (or too few, as the case may be) beers.

Tiger probably wishes that he could jump into a time machine tonight, onto the grounds of Augusta National on the second week of April. He will enter the majors in 2010 with a grim determination, and his self-imposed standards will be higher than ever - because with the U.S. Open being held at Pebble Beach and the Open Championship at St. Andrews, Tiger probably thinks that anything less than three major victories will be a failure.

How's that for an unfair standard?

1 comment:

Lou said...

Jeff, Interesting to read this post following the events that have taken place. I can't help but wonder if Tiger's performance hiccups were in part due to his activities. Just food for thought.