At the U.S. Open Tiger Woods got down in two from the sand an abysmal two times in 11 attempts. If he had matched his historical average, he would have finished within a shot of Webb Simpson, the champion!
Given this huge flaw, you might think that Ranger Rick would have fit in some practice time in the bunkers (in his backyard) during the 10 days between the Open and this week’s AT&T National.
Woods, however, chose to spend his time with his two children. “I didn’t really practice a lot this week. I was with my kids, and I got away from the game, and I was just present with them,” said Woods. Spending quality time with the young ones is certainly admirable – and it shows that Woods is possibly a far better as a father than he was as a husband.
Woods absence from golf also shows that the fire is burning less brightly than it did in the years before Woods had children. Indeed, while trying to achieve balance in his life Woods, who is known to go to excesses in everything he does, may now be far more dedicated to his kids than he is to his game.
So, if Woods continues with his newfound priorities (and no one can blame him for that), this player, who depended so much on prolific practice sessions to maintain his edge, may no longer have time to do so.
The result of the lost time for working on his game is a series of excuses. Exhibit A was his sand play in the first round of the AT&T. On the 15th hole, Shotlink reveals that his 11 yard bunker shot stopped in the rough short of the green – five big yards from the hole. After then fluffing his chip, Woods had to hole a seven foot putt just to salvage a bogey – after having only 127 yards to the green for his second shot!
On the par five 16th Woods bombed his tee shot 332 yards down the fairway, leaving him with a four iron to a huge green and an opportunity for a sure birdie, and a possible eagle. But not for the New Tiger, who pulled his second shot into a greenside bunker. His horrific sand shot from 90 feet stopped far off line, and 30 feet from the hole. Two putts later Woods exited the green with a disappointing bogey.
In his post round interview, Woods said, “Well, here there’s so much sand in these bunkers. There’s just a lot of sand in them. My 60 (degree wedge) is not built for this much sand, not designed for that, designed for less sand, so I have to make an adjustment and hit the ball a little bit closer, make sure I hit a little bit closer to the golf ball, and I just didn’t do it.”
Again, excuses have replaced results. And time with his kids has replaced time on the practice tee. So, will this be the New Tiger? Or will he be able to find balance in his life, and the skills that once allowed him to dominate the game?