Did Tiger Woods Loose His Confidence at the U.S. Open?

After my post The Demeanor of Tiger Woods, Tiger won a stunning victory at the Player’s Championship and after two days seemed to be on his way to another U.S. Open win. His focus, shot making and confidence all seemed to be where it needed to be when he teed-off tied for the lead on Saturday morning. Then something happened. He struggled the first 9 holes having trouble with his distance control and it was obvious that he could not figure out the speed of the greens. On the back 9 it just got worse and when he threw his club after a bad drive it showed that he was loosing what it takes to win. He finished at +5 well behind the leaders.

After Saturdays round several TV commentators made the point that Tiger had never come back to win a major championship pointing out that he is 0 for 48 in that category. I don’t know if watches or listens to comments about himself, but I am sure he is very aware of his record.

As he walked up to the first tee on Sunday one could see that he was in that “trance like” state that he gets in just before starting a round. The difference was that there was not a look of confidence on his face, but rather a look of concern. It was like he was still trying to figure out what had gone wrong the day before. As everyone knows by now, the confusion and lack of confidence showed in the first 6 holes as he had several bogies and one double bogey. After that I think he relaxed knowing that he was not going to win and shot 3 under par for the last 12 holes finishing up at +7.

During the interview after he finished, he stated that there were several positive things that he could take away from the tournament. For the life of me, I can’t figure out what he was talking about. I think he mentioned that he was striking the ball well, but errant drives repeatedly got him into trouble on the last day and distance control was a constant nemesis throughout the tournament. Finally, how does a professional golfer not figure out the speed of the greens after four days? Currently he his playing in streaks as demonstrated by his wins and losses this year. Sometimes he plays brilliantly and other time miserably. He seems to be on his way back to playing at the level required to win regularly on the PGA tour, but it is still questionable whether he can win another major tournament. Peak performance and winning time runs out for all professional golfers. Is his time starting to run out?

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3 thoughts on “Did Tiger Woods Loose His Confidence at the U.S. Open?

  1. I think one of the interesting things about Tiger is that yes the clock is ticking, but at this time he still has plenty of time to catch and/or surpass Jack. Whether or not can is another question entirely. But going forward Woods only needs to be great once in a while not all the time (as so many people are fixated on) to accomplish the goals he set out during his childhood…assuming that catching Jack is still a goal of his.

    Here’s the article I wrote last year on the subject: http://sports-glutton.com/2011/06/28/where-does-tiger-woods-go-from-here/

    Cheers,
    Jed

    • Hi Jed,
      Thanks for the visit, comment and link to your article (I did read it). I agree that Tiger Woods does not have to be great all the time. On the other hand, to win a major he has to be great at the time of the tournament and for 4 days in a row. At minimum he has to show steady improvement as the tournament progresses. The pressure is too great and there are too many good players for him not to be consistent. He played spectacularly the last 4 holes of the Memorial to win. It was almost as if he willed the ball into the hole. That type of play was common for him in his prime, not so now. He needs to get that “killer” instinct” back. Only time will tell if he can.

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