Where Has Tiger’s Game Gone? ( written July 2010)

It’s mid July of 2010 and Tiger Woods is still the number one ranked golfer in the world.  A fact that surprises even Tiger himself.  “To be ranked number one you have to win something”, said Tiger Woods, who is winless in his comeback after taking a considerable amount of time away from the game for rehab and family problems.  Tiger has experienced the biggest dry slump of his professional golf career since turning pro in 1996.  He has experienced more highs in the golf world than almost anyone else in the game has ever dreamed, but the lackluster play and missed cuts have introduced Tiger to an entirely different aspect of professional golf, struggling.

Recently Tiger traveled to Ireland to play in a golf charity pro-am just a few hours after not breaking par at the AT&T National in Pennsylvania for the first time on tour since 2001.  Playing a sleep deprived round of golf is never an easy thing to do and led to Tiger shooting a first round 79.  He rebounded with a second round 69, but lost his cool off the course when the relentless European press asked some penetrating questions that rubbed Tiger the wrong way, including if he is worried that he has lost so many sponsors, and if he regrets his actions because of the hit to his wallet, etc.  Ultimately the confrontation led to a number of simple sentence answers from Woods before exiting the stage to head back home.

Traveling from a PGA Tournament in Pennsylvania to a pro-am in Ireland just 13 days away from the British Open seems like a very smart plan.  In theory it would allow Tiger to practice at a number of links golf courses that are set up very much in the same manor as St. Andrews.  But when he hurriedly travels back to Florida to “see my kids” it musters up questions of whether Tiger is truly ready to commit to golf fully.  If he isn’t it is completely understandable.  Some golf analysts and “experts” have even hinted that he probably should not have attended the pro-am in the first place.  Tiger Woods has such a multitude of other factors that require a considerable amount of attention it almost goes without saying that his golf game has taken a hit.

Many golf fans can agree that Tiger will eventually figure it all out and return to form.  Everyone is waiting for that to happen as soon as possible, but golf takes time.  Many people point to the British Open as a very large chance to regain some of his form.  He has made it well known in the past that St. Andrews is his favorite course to play, which is obvious by his results.  He’s won the British Open twice at St. Andrews, in 2000 and 2005, and owns the best score ever at the course, 19-under 269 over four rounds, which is also the lowest score in relation to par at any major tournament.

Tiger Woods entering the final day in the last group of a major is something that many people have become very accustomed to over the past 14 years.  And still, through all the turmoil that surrounds him currently, the major question is not if he will return to top form but when.

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