The world’s most polarizing golfer, Tiger Woods, will try to bounce back from a disappointing (by his standards) 2013 next season. He’ll have a lot on his plate in order to catch up with the old Tiger, however.
In 2013, Tiger had five wins and finished in the top ten multiple times. He even won the PGA player of the year award and finished second in the FedEx cup standings to Henrik Stenson. But even though Tiger had a lot of wins, his drought of winning a major continues, making Tiger hungrier than ever.
Although Tiger remains one of the best golfers in the world, that isn’t good enough for him. He wants to be the best of the best, which is setting him up for another disappointing season in 2014. Here are some signs that are pointing to a rough season for Woods:
The Ryder Cup
Woods is a historically poor performer at the Ryder Cup. Since the golfers are competing in teams (U.S.A. against Europe), scrutiny and criticism for poor performance in the Ryder Cup are very high.
Tiger’s played in 33 games at the Cup and has only won 13 of them. Not only that, but the teams that Tiger plays on haven’t had a lot of success, winning only one time out of the seven that Tiger’s been in the Cup. History is not on Tiger’s side, and since the Ryder Cup will be played in Scotland, the crowd won’t be on his side either.
Another potential major distraction for Tiger is the fact that Tom Watson is captaining the 2014 U.S.A. Ryder Cup team. Watson and Woods haven’t exactly gotten along in the past. A few weeks after Tiger’s sex scandal, in 2010, Watson was very vocal about Tiger’s life and golf game.
It’s tough to know whether or not the two will be able to put their differences aside, focus on golf and get the Ryder Cup back after an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Europeans in 2012.
Tiger’s seen plenty of success at Augusta in the past. He’s won 4 green jackets, but the last one came in 2005 when he also won the British Open.
Since then, Tiger has been favored to win many majors. Last year alone, Woods was one of the favorites, if not the favorite, to win every major. He underperformed in every single major tournament. Tiger is already the favorite to win the 2014 Masters too.
This losing streak has made people wonder if Tiger’s age is catching up to him, or if he can mentally handle the pressure of being the favorite in such large tournaments.
The British Open
Woods was the favorite to win the 2013 British Open and was towards the top of the leader board heading into Sunday. In the final round, Tiger was three over, ended up at two over par for the tournament and finished in a tie for sixth.
Phil Mickelson had a great day on Sunday, playing one of the greatest rounds of all time, but that doesn’t change the fact that Tiger had another monumental collapse. But it shouldn’t be a surprise that Woods is favored to win the 2014 Open Championship.
Tiger isn’t the same golfer that he used to be. Mentally, he hasn’t handled the pressure of winning on golf’s biggest stages in five years and counting. Tiger hasn’t been able to live up to his expectations, nor has he lived up to those of the people who make the odds.
Winning the smaller tournaments hasn’t appeared to be difficult for golf’s biggest star, but winning a major when all expectations and eyes are on him, has proven to be more than he can handle.
The high expectations that people have for Tiger in 2014 are setting themselves up for major disappointment.