WASHINGTON — For you or me, the weekend golfer, an 82 is a perfectly decent score. For some, it might even represent a lifetime best. But when Tiger Woods shoots 82, something is horribly wrong.…
WASHINGTON — For you or me, the weekend golfer, an 82 is a perfectly decent score. For some, it might even represent a lifetime best. But when Tiger Woods shoots 82, something is horribly wrong.
Of course, not all 82s are created equal. After all, Tiger once shot an 81 in the British Open back in 2002. But that was on a windswept course in cold and wet conditions. That 81 came in the third round, where nine other golfers who had made the cut also shot in the 80s, including a pair of 84s.
When Woods posted a second-round 82 at the Waste Management Open in Phoenix last Friday, not only was it the single worst round of his professional career; it was the worst score any golfer in the field shot that day. Tiger, who has rarely missed the cut in his career, did so by 12 full strokes. Of every golfer who finished 36 holes, he finished tied for dead last.
“It’s golf,” Woods said in his post-round press conference. “We all have days like this.”
It wasn’t just the final, grisly numbers that told the tale, though. It was the way he fell apart.
Look at that chip. That’s the stuff that happens when you get the yips after betting $5 with your buddies on whether you can get the ball to check up inside of two feet. It’s not something that is supposed to happen on tour, to the most dominant player of his generation, and perhaps of all time.
“I was caught right in between patterns, old patterns, new patterns,” said Woods who is adjusting to a new swing.
But Tiffany Faucette — lead instructor at 1757 Golf Club, in Dulles, Virginia, recently named the LPGA Northeast Section “Teacher of the Year” — believes Woods’ issues have at least as much to do with his recent injuries and subsequent surgeries as anything.
“What I’m noticing is all his injuries and surgeries,” says Faucette. “That’s more telling in his play being more variable than we’re used to.”
We’re used to Woods being the dominant name in the sport, to being the favorite in any tournament he enters, the name you wait for as the scores scroll across the bottom of the screen.
Woods has been golf’s main attraction for the better part of two decades, and interest in the sport is dependent on his involvement. After last week’s unprecedentedly poor showing, he returns to the course where he has experienced arguably his greatest success as a professional this week.
If Tiger can’t succeed at Torrey Pines, could this really be the end?
The Farmers Insurance Open has been Woods’ to lose since 1999, when he matched the 72-hole tournament record (266) in his first victory there. He won the tournament again in 2003 and four straight years from 2005-08, and then captured his seventh title in 2013. He also won the 2008 U.S. Open held at Torrey Pines’ South Course, making the San Diego spot the home to the most success he has ever had.
And yet, he’s listed at 50-1 to win this weekend’s event.
What does Faucette expect out of Tiger at Torrey Pines?
“It’s always hard to put expectations on people,” she says. “For all that man has accomplished, I’d be the last person to judge him. But he’ll probably play better there than on a different golf course.”
Faucette cites Woods’ knowledge of how to find success at Torrey Pines. But she cautions that it will take far more time to make a judgment on whether Woods’ new approach will work in the long run.
“Coupled with his injury, I would say six months,” she says noting the added strain that comes from walking the course every day, adding extra fatigue and wear. “Playing the way they play, it’s very physically demanding.”
Whatever happens, all eyes in the golf world will be on Woods as he tees off in La Jolla, California, at 9:20 a.m. Pacific time on Thursday to see which Tiger shows up.