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Tiger Woods Can't Sink Putts and Past in One Stroke

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 10:  Tiger Woods reacts to a missed putt on the 16th green during the final round of the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Mike RoozenContributor IIApril 22, 2011

Most star athletes and other types of performers who have had the kind of personal problems Tiger Woods has had continued to do their sport at the same high level they always did, unless they wound up in jail.

For example, when Kobe Bryant had his problem in the Colorado hotel, it did not interfere with his ability to make baskets.

So how have Tiger's personal life issues prevented him from making putts, or clean swings when he needs them most?

On the back nine at this year's Masters, with a chance to take the lead and bury everyone in his dust, how was he not able to make the a simple but crucial three-foot putt for eagle that would have had the tailor in Butler Cabin grabbing for the Woods-sized green jacket?

Ben Hogan said that 99 percent of golf is played between the golfer's two ears.

Tiger's current inability to perform anywhere near the level he used to before he piled his other Caddy into a fire hydrant, illustrates that old adage.

It also advances a theory I picked up about golf in a novel called Golf in the Kingdom by Michael Murphy.

Murphy contended, when an average golfer hits a good drive, on the next tee he thinks about trying to do the same thing he did on the last one. And it never works. Why?  Because on the first drive he was not thinking about how to duplicate his last one.

It's a fairly simple sports psychology equation that now applies directly to Woods.

With no perceptible deterioration of his physical skills he is now unable to make putts and shots, especially when they matter the most, where he used to thrive on making them when it mattered most.

Here's why.

In the past, when Tiger got up over a putt to bury the competition and go on to victory, he would bury the putt and the competition in a stroke as simple and sure as the thrust of a bullfighter's sword.

Now the same putts wobble, lip out and fall short on the wrong side of the hole.

Why? 

Because now he's not trying to sink the putt, and bury the competition, he's trying to sink the putt and bury his recent past.

Like the duffer trying to do what he did on the previous tee, Tiger's trying to do too much with key shots.

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