From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Tiger Woods looks far from a sure thing to win the Masters

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There was no fist pump, hat throwing or roar from the gallery this time around. As Tiger Woods made his way up the 18th hole on Sunday afternoon at Bay Hill, the fans following the fifth ranked player in the world were decidedly subdued, as they waited for Woods to hit his final approach shot before the Masters.

Only it wasn’t his last approach. Instead, Woods fanned his shot, watching as it disappeared out of sight for a split second before crash landing in the water hazard fronting the green. Woods had to reload before knocking his next shot on the green and making a double-bogey six to finish at one-under for the week, good enough for 24th place.

If Woods’ final approach shot was a sign of things to come as Woods nears his first major championship of the season, then maybe he’d be better off spending the week at home. I’m kidding, of course … we all know Tiger will be at Augusta National next week, preparing for what lies ahead. But even with an extra week of practice, you have to wonder if there’s anything Tiger can do to right the ship before the opening round.

Like a roller coaster, Woods’ 2011 season has been a mixture of good and bad rounds that have left many fans wondering if he can even string a week of positive rounds together. Last week’s tournament at Arnie’s place was filled with some positives (Friday, first eagle since the Masters during Saturday’s third round) and a lot of negatives (Thursday and Saturday) that have to make you wonder if Tiger can live up to his 6-1 odds to win at Augusta.

Let’s be clear: Woods is no longer a sure thing to break Jack’s major championship record.The way he’s been playing recently makes you wonder if he’ll even win a major this season. People can talk all they want about Tiger and his ability to flip the switch, but the truth is, is that he’s had countless chances to flip that switch over the last couple of months, and every time he’s failed to produce.

Before the season Tiger was definitely a favorite to win at least one major this year. After the way he finished the 2010 season, playing brilliantly at the Target World Challenge and leaving many of us wanting more, it seemed like he’d come crashing out of the gates. But three months into the season all he’s done is leave us with a trail of questions to be answered.

Will Sean Foley’s swing ever work? How about his mental game? Can he juggle being a single parent and chasing Jack’s record? Has the pressure gotten to him? These are just a few of the burning questions that have been asked in recent months, and none of them are even close to being answered.

Say all you want about Tiger being a factor at the Masters because of his history at the tournament, but if you gave me 30-1 odds on Tiger to win the Masters at this very moment, I’d probably say no thanks and go pick someone like Nick Watney or Dustin Johnson to get the job done. I’m that confident about his game.

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Written by Jonathan Wall

03/28/2011 at 8:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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