6 Wrong Predictions of Tiger Woods' Return to Glory
Tiger Woods mania is back yet again. Following the Australian Open and Presidents Cup, the state of his game seems to be improving. The whispers of his impending return to dominance are growing louder.
He is showing glimpses of the old Tiger Woods. He can practice more often, and he seems to be enjoying the game.
The reality is that Tiger Woods blew the Australian Open and was inconsistent in the Presidents Cup. In 2010, he lost a final-round lead at the Chevron World Challenge. That followed a Ryder Cup in which he dominated his singles match.
The obsession to declare Tiger Woods back on such a small sample has caused numerous proclamations in the last year. Here are the six big "Tiger's back" declarations.
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Woods had a disastrous performance at Firestone which had been a strong course for him. He followed up with a non competitive PGA Championship.
He entered The Barclays officially working with Sean Foley and his game in an awful state. He opened with a 65 to lead the tournament. He finished five strokes off in the end, shooting a final round 67.
Ignored was his Saturday 73, caused by a horrendous triple bogey on the first hole. It removed him from serious contention. His driving accuracy was lauded, but it was forgotten that he was using a five wood on many holes.
2010 Ryder Cup
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Much was made about the solid play of Woods at the Ryder Cup. He posted a 3-1 record. He trounced Francesco Molinari 4-and-3 in his singles match.
For starters, Ryder Cup performance is irrelevant. It is not a stroke-play event. Tiger at his best was not great in the event.
He also was matched up against the weaker side of the European team. His loss came when Luke Donald and Lee Westwood were matched up against the pairing of Woods and Steve Stricker.
2010 Chevron World Challenge
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Woods entered the Chevron World Challenge in better form. He had recorded top-15 finishes in the Duestche Bank and BMW Championships. He was never in contention, however.
At Chevron, Woods fired three straight rounds in the 60's to take the 54-hole lead by four shots. The win seemed like a guarantee, Tiger had put it all together and was back to his unbeatable self.
Someone forgot to tell Graeme McDowell. The U.S. Open Champion chased down Tiger and prevailed in a playoff. His performance was very clutch.
He matched Tiger's birdie to force the playoff then holed another birdie on the first playoff hole. He also made a seemingly impossible par save earlier.
If Woods had simply shot even par, he would have won. He lost his four-stroke lead which would be unfathomable for the Tiger of old.
2011 Farmers Insurance Open
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Woods made his 2011 PGA Tour debut at Torrey Pines. The course was the site of his 2008 U.S. Open victory and he had a magnificent career track record. Surely, he would be able to play with confidence at this place.
Tiger shot back-to-back 69's and the weekend seemed promising. His game seemed to be in form and he was on a course that he owned.
The weekend turned out to be a disaster. Woods shot a 74, followed by a 75. He looked completely disinterested as he finished in a tie for 44th place.
2011 WGC Cadillac Championship
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Tiger recorded his first top-10 finish of the year at the Doral Blue Monster. He was completely out of contention but fired a final-round 66 to post a solid result.
The focus was placed on that final-round 66. It showed that he had not lost his fighting spirit as some had questioned. Tiger must have figured something out and finally got it to work on the course. It was the Tiger of old on Sunday.
From a larger perspective, the final round was not anything to get excited over. It followed the trend of inconsistent play that Woods had displayed. He played his way out of the tournament, but somehow a good Sunday nullified that.
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Tiger made a front-nine charge to grab a tie for the final-round lead. This had seemed impossible going into the day as he was well behind. It clearly was the best nine holes he had played in a long time.
However, when the opportunity presented itself, Tiger crumbled. He was unable to take advantage of Augusta's back nine, which offers many scoring chances. He finished four strokes back of winner Charl Schwartzel.
Again the cries of "he's back" echoed. The problem again was inconsistent play over four rounds. He shot a Saturday round of 74 that put him in a tough spot. His play altogether was very streaky, with great stretches followed by bad ones.
History Repeating Itself
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Tiger Woods would not play a full tournament after the Masters until August. He withdrew from The Players Championship after nine holes.
He played horribly at the WGC Bridgestone and the PGA Championship. His game looked lost just as it did in 2010. Following that stretch, it seemed that any bit of solid play by Tiger meant he was getting back to top form.
The same thing is occurring now. Tiger had a solid singles performance in the Presidents Cup. He was also in contention at the Australian Open.
Woods still has not shown the ability to play well consistently. His performances continue to be very uneven. He also seems to have trouble under pressure, as he choked in the Australian Open.
Golfodds.com has made Tiger the favorite for the 2012 Masters. That is simply absurd based on his play.
The reality is that Woods looks no closer to recapturing his form than he did last year.