Tiger Woods Must Avoid Mental Setback at Cadillac Championship

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2012

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 08:  Tiger Woods hits out of the bunker on the fourth hole during the first round of the 2012 World Golf Championships Cadillac Championship at Doral Golf Resort And Spa on March 8, 2012 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Tiger Woods is at a crucial point in his comeback. He can't afford to have another mental setback after a shaky first round at Doral. That would jeopardize all of the progress he's made.

Woods ended his thrilling Honda Classic run with an eagle and started the Cadillac Championship with another one. Just when it appeared the generation's most talented golfer was back on track, however, things began to go awry once again.

Tee shots were sailing wide of their intended destination, putts he used to knock in with relative ease during his peak years were coming up short and, perhaps most worrisome, Woods showed signs of serious frustration.

One of the most encouraging things about his recent resurgence has been his positive attitude on the course. He's been smiling a lot more and seemed to be having fun playing golf again. That wasn't always the case over the past couple years.

While all golfers get a little peeved when things aren't going their way, it's important Woods keeps the big picture in mind. He doesn't want to revert to previous form, when he didn't have any clue where the ball would go when he struck it.

It might seem like a minor factor, but when it comes to Tiger, his mental approach is more important than anything else.

Back when he was virtually unstoppable, he had a mindset that nobody was going to beat him. Even when he didn't come out on top, he usually attributed it to shots he missed and not great play from a competitor.

There were brief glimpses of that version of Woods last week, but they weren't as prominent during the first round on Thursday.

So as he returns to the course for Round 2, and potentially the weekend, it's important that Woods keeps his head on straight. He needs to focus on all of the strides that have been made and not some of the problems he endured yesterday.

He'd be much better off pretending like it didn't happen at all and entering today with a fresh outlook. Get back to hitting fairways and everything else will fall into place eventually. If he starts trying to micromanage his game, things will only get worse.

And golf can't afford for him to slip back into another slump.

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