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  • Is Tiger no longer the force in golf?

    SPORTS COMMENTARY: MIKE BIANCHI

    Tiger might settle for good
    Mike Bianchi

    March 22, 2004

    If ever there was any doubt that Tiger Woods has lost his edge and his drive, it was answered Sunday.

    He'd just finished off a horrendous weekend at Bay Hill. For the first time in 122 career non-majors, he shot over par three times in the same tournament. He finished in 46th place, his sixth-worst finish in history. He won only $12,850 -- not even enough to pay his pool guy at Isleworth this month. And at one point, he angrily flung a club in disgust and apparently nailed his caddie.

    And after all this, you know how Tiger planned to cure his woes?

    "I'm going to go have a nice little beer right now, and I should be all right," a smiling Tiger said Sunday after his Bay Hill "Drive for Five" took a wrong turn and ended on the road to oblivion.

    He didn't say anything about spending more time on the range. Not a word about watching videotapes of his swing. Nothing about a session with a swing coach or a consultation with a sports psychologist. None of that.

    Just a nice, cold bottle of suds.

    From the Tiger Slam in the four majors to Tiger slamming down a sixer to drown his sorrows.

    New Tiger motto: "When your game goes to pooh, go have a brew."

    First, he announces he's getting married. Then he announces there are other things in life besides golf. And now he's drinking away his problems, too. Is it only a matter of time before he's living in the trailer next to John Daly's?

    I want the old Tiger back -- the dominant, intimidating Tiger. I don't know if I like this new Tiger -- the vulnerable, more tolerant Tiger. He seems way too human, way too much like the rest of us.

    He even admitted Sunday that his golf swing is "flawed," yet he doesn't quite seem to know why. "I hit my irons great, and then I drove it bad. Now, I'm back to driving it good and hitting my irons bad."

    Isn't that the same type of groping-for-answers analysis you'd get from Frankie Fourjack, the discombobulated hack down at the local muni? No, we don't expect Tiger to win every tournament, but we at least expect him to give us some sort of mechanical, mumbo-jumbo explanation just so we know he's in control of his golf game.

    Granted, Tiger is held to a completely different and unfair set of standards than everybody else. Ernie Els, considered by some to be the second-best golfer in the world, missed the cut at Bay Hill, and it wasn't even a blip on the radar. But Tiger fails to win the tournament for a fifth consecutive time, and we act as if his game is suddenly in disarray.

    What a rotten weekend it was for the old Stanford grads. First, the basketball team loses to Alabama and then Tiger finishes 18 shots behind Chad Campbell. Stat of the week: In Campbell's two tour victories, he's beaten Tiger by a combined 35 strokes.

    Question: How does a guy named Tiger get pummeled by a guy named Chad?

    Is it too early to start asking, "Is Tiger in a Slump?"

    Or, worse yet, maybe it's time we should start asking a more pertinent question: "Is this the Tiger we're going to get from now on?"

    It's not so far-fetched to think that the days of Tiger totally dominating the game are over. Perhaps what we're seeing now is simply the norm, and what we saw three years ago -- when Tiger won four consecutive majors and nine PGA Tour events -- was the aberration.

    Tiger, as we're seeing now, is not supernatural. In fact, he seems all too frequently and fallibly human. It used to be that the mere mortals periodically could step up and play with Tiger. Now, Tiger regularly steps down to the level of the mere mortals.

    "The problem is my bad shots," Tiger said. "I'm making bogeys, doubles; I'm in the water or out of bounds, just unplayable shots."

    The swing problems he had most of last year still have not been cured, evidenced by the fact that he had to take a penalty stroke on each of the four days of Bay Hill. And even though he won the World Match Play three weeks ago, Tiger hit hardly half the fairways in the finals against Davis Love III and easily could have lost in the first round if not for a final-hole gag job by journeyman John Rollins.

    It used to be Tiger mashed the ball by just about everybody he played, but his driving distance is now no better than about a dozen other golfers on tour. He clearly needs to reunite with his old swing coach, Butch Harmon, but he's too proud to admit it.

    Instead, we may just have to accept Tiger for what he has become -- still the best golfer on the planet, just not the best golfer from another planet.

    Sadly, it looks like we may have to live with this new, not-so-dominant Tiger.

    I think I need a beer, too.
    June 9, 1973 - The day athletic perfection was defined.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-Kva...eature=related

  • #2

    Is this like his "slump" when he still won golfer of the year?


    He's set the bar too high for himself. He's still far and away the best golfer in the world.
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    • #3
      While I don't believe that Tiger is done being the dominant force in golf, I do think his desire may be down a little because of his marriage and various things going on in his life. Marriage and life in general have a way of changing your priorities rather quickly.
      *Syria becomes the 7th predominantly Muslim country bombed by 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama—after Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Iraq

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      • #4
        Originally posted by BringBackZezel@Mar 22 2004, 04:09 PM

        Is this like his "slump" when he still won golfer of the year?


        He's set the bar too high for himself. He's still far and away the best golfer in the world.
        Honestly, Zezel he had no business winning that award last year. I follow golf very closely and he wouldn't have been in my top 2 PGA players last year. He seems to be friends with many more players now and I think that helped him win this award last year.
        *Syria becomes the 7th predominantly Muslim country bombed by 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama—after Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Iraq

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        • #5
          The moral of this story? Women ruin everything, even Tiger. B)

          Think about it; was he having these problems before he met her?
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          • #6
            Originally posted by dhaab+Mar 22 2004, 04:17 PM-->
            QUOTE (dhaab @ Mar 22 2004, 04:17 PM)

          • #7
            His bitch is still distracting him. I wouldn´t neccesarily mind that distraction though.

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            • #8
              Originally posted by ElviswasaBluesFan@Mar 22 2004, 04:18 PM
              The moral of this story? Women ruin everything, even Tiger. B)

              Think about it; was he having these problems before he met her?
              It's true...and it's also the reason I've never been convinced that Tiger will pass Jack's record of 18 Major wins. He currently has 7 wins @ age 28 in a time when most winners are under 40. He needs to win one per year to catch Jack and more than one per year to beat him.
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              • #9
                Originally posted by BringBackZezel+Mar 22 2004, 04:21 PM-->
                QUOTE (BringBackZezel @ Mar 22 2004, 04:21 PM)
                Originally posted by [email protected] 22 2004, 04:17 PM

              • #10
                I voted for Smails, Czervik, and Spackler all ahead of Tiger last year. Oh, yeah, the Lama too. He's a big hitter.

                Moon

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