Tiger Woods Masters: He Must Focus on Mental Game in Final Round

Scott SemmlerAnalyst IIApril 7, 2012

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 07:  Tiger Woods of the United States hits his tee shot on the fourth hole during the third round of the 2012 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2012 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Everything was there for Tiger Woods on Saturday at the 2012 Masters Tournament, but he was not able to take advantage of it and now sees himself a long ways away from winning a major tournament anytime soon. 

It was a beautiful day in Georgia with excellent conditions, and it seemed to be the perfect opportunity for Tiger to make a move and post a good score early in the day before the leaders teed off.

However, that was not the case, as he fired just another even-par round of 72. Now, with Woods out of contention to win another green jacket, he must focus on the other parts of his game that will help him succeed throughout the rest of his season.

One part of his game that has become noticeably askew is the mental game, which saw him utterly disgrace his image and The Masters golf tournament on Friday when he mishit his tee shot shot on the 16th hole.  He proceeded to drop his club out of frustration, then kick it once it reached the ground.

It has been that sort of tournament for Woods at The Masters.  It is not usual for Woods to go into a tournament as the odds-on favorite to win, then proceed to botch the early rounds and lose sight of the leaders heading into the final round.  

However, that is what we have in 2012. Woods will enter Sunday's final round 12 strokes back of whoever the leader, Peter Hanson.

Rest assured, neither he nor Phil Mickelson will be thinking about Woods on Sunday.

But it was not just the errant shot on the 16th hole on Friday that made Woods' mental game a noticeable wreck.  His quotes after the rounds have been lackluster, as well.

This was a key Woods' comment after the first day of The Masters.

“I could have probably got one, maybe two more out of that but that was about it,” said Woods. “Today I squeezed a lot out of that round. Didn’t hit it very good at all. Warmed up bad too, and it continued on the golf course.”

We are simply not used to Woods being as blunt as to tell the public that that was all he had a major tournament.

His actions on Friday on the 16th hole speak for themselves, and we saw -- once again -- Woods scrambling for answers and attempting to find some way to make sense of his third round on Saturday.

He mentioned post-round that he was just a few shots away from a great round, only adding to the fact that his game has been a complete mess this week.  That was proven by another tantrum he threw after a hooked tee shot on the 13th hole, where he dropped his club, yet again.

For Woods to get his game back, it starts with finding his golf swing and ends with his mental game. Right now, neither are even close to becoming what we once saw from him.

The unconscious state of his game we once knew, adored and came to expect has come and gone, and there is nothing to tell us he will ever get it back again.