Breaking Down Tiger Woods' 2012 US Open Loss
It was a tale of two halves for Tiger Woods at the 2012 U.S. Open.
The first half saw Woods shoot a one-under 69 on Thursday and an even-par 70 on Friday. Going into Moving Day, Woods was in a tie for first, and after his big win at Memorial last week, pundits were ready to etch his name into the trophy.
But the weekend was far less kind to Woods, who shot a five-over 75 on Saturday and a four-over 74 on Sunday. All in all, Woods dropped 20 places over his final 36 holes and finished in 21st place.
So what exactly went wrong for Woods?
At Olympic Club, the deep rough, numerous bunkers and tough greens made hitting the fairways especially important.
As aggressive players saw their scores continue to plummet, it became apparent just how necessary it would be for golfers to play things conservative and just worry about making pars.
In the first two rounds, Woods did that brilliantly. According to usopen.com, Woods hit 10 of 14 fairways (71.43 percent) in the first round and 11 of 14 (78.57 percent) in the second.
But then came Saturday (via ESPN Stats & Info):
Tiger Woods hit 7-of-14 fairways Saturday. He hit 5-of-6 when teeing off with an iron & just 2-of-8 when using a fairway wood or driver.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 17, 2012
On Sunday, it got even worse for Woods, as he hit just 5-of-14 fairways, which was tied for fourth worst of anyone in the tournament.
Sometimes you can afford to be aggressive and still be able to make saves out of the ugly stuff, but not at Olympic. Tiger found that out the hard way this weekend.
Wrong Choice of Clubs
On Saturday especially, Woods simply couldn't couldn't pick the right club. He was leaving shots short of the green all day, and if he managed to avoid that, he would launch shots over the green. Woods said via golf.com.
It was amazing how all day I kept getting the half-club. Just one of those days where right in between clubs in just about every single shot, and I just never quite had the right number.
No matter how good you are at driving the ball, if you can't find the right club to get to the green from the fairway, you are going to end up having to make putts for par.
What hurt Woods the most?
That's not something you can rely on for four straight days.
Poor Sand Game
This hurt Woods all week, even when he was playing well.
Tiger found himself in the sand 11 times throughout the tournament and was only able to save par twice. That's a save percentage of 18.18 percent (compared to his season average of 55.32 percent), which simply isn't close to being good enough.
Of the players who made the cut, only five were worse than Tiger, and none of them were near the leaders.
When you struggle to hit effective shots out of the bunker—and as you can see below, he often left his shots short from there—it means you're going to have to rely on hitting a lot of 10- to 15-foot putts.
That didn't work in San Francisco.
Despite usually being one of the most clutch putters on the tour, Tiger was haunted by the greens on Saturday.
He took an absurd 34 putts during his poor third round (via foxsports.com). In case you don't have a calculator nearby, that's just under two putts per hole.
"They looked quick, but they putted slow," said Woods of the greens.
When you are struggling at keeping the ball in the fairway and then leaving your approach shots short of the green or right at the beginning of the green, 1.9 putts per hole just isn't going to cut it.
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