Over analyzing single rounds of golf is a chronic problem within the media.
It is perfectly fine to examine each shot a golfer hits. It is acceptable to look at fairways and greens hit, putting statistics and scrambling numbers.
The problem occurs when trying to draw a long-term conclusion based on that single round of golf.
Rory McIlroy sits at two under par, 10 strokes off the lead. In all likelihood, he will not seriously contend over the weekend. Articles by ESPN and the Vancouver Sun illustrate the over-analysis that I am speaking of.
McIlroy admitted to being flat on Thursday and did not mount a charge on Friday. Both articles immediately jump to conclusions about why this was the case.
They both generally hint at McIlroy being distracted by his ascent to the top of the world rankings. They also both mention Caroline Wozniacki and tennis. McIlroy made headlines by taking his girlfriend's spot for a point against Maria Sharapova in their New York exhibition match on Monday.
In his last 11 tournaments, McIlroy has two wins and 10 finishes in the top five. His worst result is a tie for 11th at the Dubai World Championship. That is a dominant stretch of play by any standard, as he essentially has contended in every tournament.
No golfer, not even Tiger Woods in his prime, contends in literally every tournament. It is simply unrealistic to expect McIlroy to do so. Given the windy conditions, I am not at all surprised to see him not near the top of the leaderboard.
I do not think being ranked No. 1 in the world nor playing Maria Sharapova in tennis have anything to do with his performance. Nor do I think that this performance tells us anything about McIlroy's demeanor.
McIlroy isn't having a great tournament simply because you can't always have your best game every time out. I will give him a pass, given the ridiculous level of play he has been at since last summer.
As for Tiger Woods, what else is new? Every round he plays is blown out of proportion. Tiger has returned to an elite level of play, but that does not mean the "Old Tiger" is back.
This opinion is based on his body of work since the Australian Open. He is one of the best in the world again, but not at the level he previously displayed.
It was not surprising to see Tiger be unable to follow up his 62 at the Honda Classic with a strong first round at Doral. I do not think his Friday 67 means much, either. It follows the patterns seen from Tiger, he is not as consistent and doesn't putt as well as he did a few years ago.
Do yourself a favor and hit the mute button when you hear why Tiger is almost back and why Rory was flat after becoming the top-ranked player. It is all complete nonsense.