Tiger Woods, British Open: Hot Start Won't Be Enough to Overcome Majors Drought
With four birdies in his first seven holes, Tiger Woods had the hot hand early in the British Open, but his incredible start will not be enough to end his four-year majors drought.
Tiger truly was incredible, but he is unlikely to maintain the level of performance that had him four-under par through seven holes.
In fact, after that start, Tiger was one-over par through the final 11 holes. While he's still within striking distance, Tiger's lack of scrambling ability will hurt him as the tournament continues.
Royal Lytham is course well known for its brutal rough and deep bunkers, obstacles which can add several strokes to a golfer's score in a single hole.
For truly elite shot-makers, this isn't a major concern, but Tiger is prone to errors when dealing with obstacles.
Tiger is ranked 13th on the tour in proximity to the hole on his approach shots, but a closer inspection shows that this rank is something of an aberration. While Woods is fourth overall from the fairway, he is 97th from the sand and a lowly 176th from the rough.
His ability to avoid obstacles, as evidenced by his awesome 92.9 percent driving accuracy and 83.3 percent greens in regulation rate, was extraordinary through the first round, but this magic won't last forever.
Royal Lytham has 206 bunkers, each incredibly deep and difficult to get out of. That means that no golfer, Tiger included, will be able to avoid obstacles forever.
Inevitably, Tiger will find himself in severe trouble. When he does, he will likely find that he lacks the ability to escape, resulting in a disastrous hole that could keep Tiger out of contention for the win.
The British Open will not be won by avoiding errors, as Royal Lytham is just too obstacle-laden to avoid errors for the entire tournament.
Instead, the Open will be won by the golfer who is best able to escape from trouble. That could mean giving up on the glory shot and simply taking the easiest shot available, something Tiger has never been keen on doing.
While Tiger has always excelled at occasionally making glorious shots, his lack of consistency in escaping from trouble has been an issue in the past.
He can't keep driving the ball with this level of accuracy, and when a shot or two finally goes awry, Tiger simply lacks the recovery skills to cope with Royal Lytham's obstacles.
That means that, despite Tiger's excellent first round, he will be unable to maintain his level of play. Even a few bad shots will set Tiger back several strokes, and that will ultimately keep Tiger from ending his major drought.
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