Where to for Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods

Whenever I sit down on Sunday nights while watching golf on TV and get ready to write some stuff on the PGA Tours, I very often find myself thinking of Tiger Woods, but I’m often not quite ready to write, once again, about the whole question of the “will he, won’t he” in terms of winning, contending, making cuts and even whether he’ll finish rounds.

But there’s no other player in sport today who ‘moves the needle’ more than Eldrick Tont ‘Tiger” Woods, and his presence at tournaments gets more media attention and spectators rallying around him than any other golfer playing the game today.

The world #257 actually commands more ticket sales than the #1 and the #2! That’s amazing!!

And so, once again, after a week in which he contended in an event for the 1st time in 2 years, all the usual questions were all right up there in everyone’s conversations, and nearly everyone checking in at the shop on the weekend asked the same questions.

His swing looked much better for most of the tournament, evidence that the latest swing changes are (very) slowly starting to take effect, or at least that he’s getting some rhythm into his game that’s allowing him to execute shots better. Detractors will say he didn’t need many drivers off the tees, so that’s why he stayed out of the trees and could post better scores.

His putting and his chipping both looked OK, again for most of the week, and under the 1st big test in the heat of battle in Saturday’s3rd round, he actually passed the test admirably, and he hung around more than before, even if he didn’t match others who shot really low in the traditional moving round.

And then, when the whole world wondered how he’d handle the real test on Sunday when starting 2 shots back, well… he just wasn’t at the races, was he? He started gingerly, never hitting anything close and not setting himself up for any decent birdie chances.

But then there was the triple bogey at the 11th. A missed fairway, then a missed green, and then a bladed/shanked chip followed by another chunky chip, and then he went to the putter from off the green, possibly fearing more of the same if he used one of his wedges.Dejected Tiger Woods

The disaster took him right out of the tournament in one fell swoop!

Yet, now totally out of contention, he steadied the ship and finished very strongly with a few birdies in the closing stretch to salvage some tiny amount of pride, and also avoid ending over par for the round.

So there’s definitely something starting to stir on the physical side of ‘Tigerville”, but the questions and doubts about his mental state are still there.

Can he perform against Jordan, Rory and Jason, and on tougher courses where he’ll have to use the driver, and does he have the chipping yips? Is the steely nerve that shot him to 14 Majors in quicker time than Jack got to a similar number ever again attainable?

Unfortunately, his 2015 season is now finished as he hasn’t qualified for the Fedex Cup Playoffs and is not making the Prez Cup team. That leaves his own Hero World Challenge on the 3rd of Dec, replacing the Tavistock Cup and now moving to an Ernie course in the Bahamas, unless… he tees it up in the 4 tournament stretch that has actually replaced the old Tour School, and which starts at the Frys.com event in mid-October.

But he’s never played these so-called ‘minor events’ before. With everyone telling him, including listening to his own well-worn mantra of needing more reps, it remains to be seen whether he’ll tee it up in that Fall Series. So also taking out his normal absence from the early year Hawaii events, the next full Tour event we can expect to see him at again will be January 28 in the Farmers’ Insurance event at one of his favourite courses at Torrey Pines.

That’s some break! Can he afford to be taking so much time off and not getting in much-needed match practice?

But one thing keeps me dreaming big: Imagine if Tiger Woods were back to his best, or close to it, and started challenging the current Big 3 of Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day?

Now there’s a thought! What are your thoughts on Tiger?

The FedEx Cup Play Offs

This week sees the Top 125 tee it up in The Barclays, with 100 making it through to the Deutsche Bank event the following week, and then 75 getting through to the BMW Championships, before the Top 30 find themselves at East Lake in Atlanta for the Tour Championship’s US$10 bar cash grab.

Whereas this week might feel much like a regular Tour event, once they get down to 100 next week things will start to get tight, especially at the bottom where the guys just trying to get through to the following week really start to get tense.
There should be some exciting golf coming up on TV in the next 4 weeks.

And then following just 2 weeks after that (Oct 8 to 11) will be the President’s Cup at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in South Korea.

Richard Kaplan
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Richard Kaplan

Head Professional at Houghton Golf Club
Richard had a decorated amateur career during the 1980s, which included winning the English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship (Brabazon Trophy) in 1986 and the Southern Transvaal Open Strokeplay in 1984. He also earned his Springbok colours four times.

Kappy turned professional in 1986 and won for the first time on the Sunshine Tour in 1995. He added three more tour wins between then and 2000. His best year-end finish on the Order of Merit was 9th in 1993, 1994 and 1995.

Kappy has also competed on the Asian Tour where, in 1996, he won the Royal Thai Classic and finished in the top 20 on the Order of Merit.
Richard Kaplan
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