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?