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Monday, 5 December 2016

It's the Fiddler

Well, Tiger Woods managed to play 72 holes against a really strong field. While his first tournament was in a limited field, with no cut, it was against a bunch of thoroughbreds. If he was going to embarrass himself, he picked the right field to do it in. He was, after all, playing against eleven of the top twenty players in the world.

While he looked like the Tiger of old with some of his iron shots, he drove it poorly, putted okay, but was not bullet-proof from six feet like he was when he was the best, and he made too many mental mistakes. I'm sure he gave his fans a few things to feel optimistic about. I'm not, however, convinced that he will be happy with his play. He finished poorly every day but one--his second round 65. Not only did he make bogeys, he made several doubles. He must be disappointed; especially with that final round--the highest round of the tournament.

After two days, I thought, here we go. Tiger really is back. Now, it's obvious that he has a long way to go. We saw some good stuff from him--hell, he led the field in birdies--but there is nothing in what we saw that would have Jack worrying about his Major record quite yet. 

They say the three most important clubs are the driver, the wedge, and the putter--not necessarily in that order. Tiger's driving, especially as he tried to finish the rounds off, let him down. His wedge game was okay, but nothing to write home about, and his putting was not remotely like it was when he was knocking off Majors at a high rate of speed.

Gene Sarazen said that the first thing to go is your putting. He may be right. When the putts start lipping out, and the four footers start looking easy to miss, the game changes. It affects your confidence in a big way. There was a time when a six footer was pretty much a sure thing for Tiger. That's simply no longer the case. 

Raymond Floyd said the six foot putt was the most important shot in golf. I think he's right. And, for now at least, Tiger is a long way from being where he once was when standing over a six footer. Can he get the magic back? He's got the right putter. But, as they say, "It ain't the fiddle. It's the fiddler."