The Masters: 10 Things Tiger Must Do to Contend on Sunday
It may seem he is out of it, but he isn't. Tiger can still be Tiger.
Even if he doesn't do well Sunday, there are positives to draw from what we saw this week and, of course, a few things he can work on.
Despite these issues Tiger can still put himself into contention today, should he focus on a few key areas.
Play Each Shot
On two out of three days thus far Tiger played too many shots based on technical aspects of his game. On Friday Tiger broke the mold, playing each shot and simply focusing on where the ball needed to go.
The best example of this was on hole 18 during his round of 66. Tiger's tee shot sailed wayward, but it was manageable nonetheless. He essentially had to slice the ball onto the green. He set himself up to play the shot, and just swung. There wasn’t deliberation about how to approach the shot; all he did was swing.
This is difficult for Tiger, with all of his swing adjustments. But it’s the only way that he is going to succeed with his approach shots, especially his driver.
Find His Putting
Of all, this is the most glaring of Tiger’s issues. His putting has been spotty at times; in The Masters it must be consistent.
Friday was Tiger's best showing on the green. He left one out there on 16, but it’s going to happen at least once in a round.
What he can’t afford is the amount of missed putts he had on Saturday. He left too many out there and, if he wants to contend Sunday, there can’t be a single putt left short.
The putter has to be out in full force on Sunday if Tiger is going to post low.
Swing in Tempo
At this point in Tiger’s swing development, an out of tempo swing often spells disaster. A perfect example is the playoff at Accenture. Tiger overcooked his drive and missed one of the widest fairways on tour.
He got into a zone with Harmon and Haney where he could recover if his swing was too fast. Right now he is not comfortable enough to be swinging so hard and it’s going to force him to save it.
An out of tempo swing has much too wide a miss zone for Tiger right now. If he stays in tempo, even his off shots won't be so bad.
If Tiger wants to win, he’s going to have to believe in himself. He is fully aware that he has never come from behind to win a major. But he has in other tournaments.
Tiger has to approach Sunday like it’s just another tournament. It isn’t The Masters, the pinnacle of golf. It’s The Masters, another tournament on his schedule.
If Tiger can be confident enough to post a low score early, he’s going to add pressure to the top of the field. If the top player is around 13-under, and Tiger Woods posts around 11 or 12, it does just that.
Rory McIlroy hasn’t been in a situation where he has four holes left and is clinging to a lead with Tiger sitting in the clubhouse. That’s the situation Tiger needs.
Tiger's on-course demeanor has not been too bad. It could be because it’s Augusta National, however, and he doesn’t want to hear the criticism.
Either way, he’s been more composed of late. He has to avoid the highs and lows on Sunday. If he has a little momentum, he shouldn’t be afraid to carry it. But he can’t play by the seat of his pants.
If Tiger can find the focus that makes him deadly, he will be in the mix.
This isn’t a game-breaker, but if Tiger can hit fairways he is going to have a much easier time putting.
With the new grooves hitting out of the rough is going to hurt, especially with the rough fully grown on Sunday.
If Tiger can burn the ball down the fairway, he’s going to have plenty of tap-ins.
Tiger is a slow starter at Augusta. It’s not that he can’t play the front nine well; it’s that he plays the back the best. It can’t be that way Sunday. Tiger has to start strong. A first hole birdie will get him on the right track.
If he is riding at three under going into the back nine, anything can happen.
No Let Up
Tiger can not take his foot off the pedal on Sunday. He has to be constantly moving forward. If he can’t, there’s no chance of capturing momentum.
What he has to avoid, however, is allowing his mentality to create overly aggressive lines. Though he has nothing to lose on Sunday, he can’t afford to self-destruct.
Finish with a Fist Pump
Everyone seems to hate it, but the fist pump is that momentum-creating trigger that carries Tiger to the top of the leaderboard. It rewards a good hole and is a boost for the next.
It doesn’t have to be a crowd roaring shot, just a good one. Every little bit of confidence is going to help Tiger nail the most important shots.
Not many picked him to win, so failure won't disappoint anyone but Tiger. He shouln't be disappointed though. He has played a lot of good golf to this point and should be happy with playing a solid round and placing in the top ten on Sunday.
I don’t want him to not care, but to not worry if he gets in a bind.
There’s a chance Tiger can win. It's slim, but if there’s anyone that can do it, it is Tiger Woods.