I know it was Tiger Woods' first tournament of the season, so I’ll try not to get too carried away. But Tiger ‘s performance at the Farmer’s Insurance Open appeared worse than ordinary.
After a decent start on Thursday and Friday, Tiger played poorly over the weekend and finished 15 shots out of first place—a terrible showing.
Lots of golfers look this bad at any given tournament, but rarely is Tiger Woods one of them. Tiger’s winning percentage is remarkable. He’s won at least once for every four tournaments he's entered. No other golfer has ever won with that regularity—not Jack Nicklaus, not Sam Snead.
Even more troubling is this latest collapse was at Torrey Pines Golf Course, a place where Tiger has dominated, winning there six times as a pro, including the last four times he played there.
But all signs are pointing to a man who has lost his edge. Tiger looks like he is pressing, every swing an adventure, every putt uncertain.
I have been watching golf for years, long before Tiger Woods came on the scene, but golf was never appointment viewing for me. Then 15 years ago all that changed. When Tiger was playing, and winning, I had to tune in.
I was not alone.
Millions of others turned to Tiger on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, and golf ratings were never higher. For years and years not only did Tiger dominate, he also brought drama with him. He would shoot himself out of trouble with some of the most incredible shot-making in golf history. That was part of his mystique.
His peers, first annoyed, soon came to respect and then appreciate Tiger’s roar, even if it meant they would lose in the process. Why? Because everyone was making money, more money than ever before.
While Tiger didn’t always dominate, he was usually in the hunt and often won. And I watched, just like everyone else did, wondering what will Tiger do next?
Last year his failure to win a tournament for the first time in his career was understandable. Tiger suffered international humiliation as we learned just how tawdry a lifestyle he led away from the golf course. He lost his wife and many of his sponsors.
Yep, that would be enough to damage anyone’s Mojo—even Tiger’s. But this year, I’m hoping it gets better, but now I’m no longer in a rush to get to the TV set.
Over the years, I got used to seeing Tiger playing from behind on Friday, catching up by Saturday and closing it out in his traditional red victory shirt on Sunday.
I tried rooting for Tiger this past weekend, but Tiger is hard to watch when he is just another golfer. He’s even harder to watch when I know he has no chance to win. Right now that’s the way it is.