Wednesday, May 09, 2012

TIGER TURNS ON SIR NICK AND HIS OTHER CRITICS: 'How do they know what I'm thinking?'

“I always find it interesting [the critics’ comments] since they’re not in my head,” Woods said. “How do they know what I’m thinking? They must have some kind of superpower I don’t know about.”
Derren Brown or not, Faldo is adamant that Woods’s problems are not technical but mental. Like most in the game, the Englishman believed the 14-time major winner had turned a corner seven weeks ago at the Arnold Palmer Invitational — where Woods celebrated his first official win in two years — but watched in discomfort as he reverted to woeful form in the next two events.
“When he won at Bay Hill [three tournaments ago] he said the swing was fixed,” Faldo said. “But then came The Masters and then last week.
“The bottom line is that he just doesn’t have the self-belief, the confidence he obviously had before. This has been going on for longer than he wants. For the first time in his career Tiger has fears... If he fears losing his ball to the right, he’s pulling it hard left.”
Added Faldo: “The crash and burn in his personal life has had a huge effect. He’s a different guy, physically, technically and in karma. We shouldn’t compare him to the old Tiger. This is the Tiger we’ve got now.”
Faldo is far from being a lone voice on this issue. Indeed, Woods is under attack from the American commentary box, which roundly dismisses his argument that these are merely the usual teething problems of a new swing.
Johnny Miller on Tuesday concurred with Faldo, his colleague at the Golf Channel.
“He won at Bay Hill and we thought, ‘wow, he’s back’,” the two-time major champion said. “And all of a sudden, at the Masters his nerves just went off the red line and he basically succumbed to the pressure. I think that really affected him. It was a shock. He went from the top of his game to just like, ‘what the heck is going on?’ It made him very human.”
The most severe condemnation, however, came from Brandel Chamblee, who urged Woods to sack his coach, Sean Foley, and reappoint Butch Harmon. “He needs to fire Sean, call Butch. I think that would get it done right there,” the former US PGA Tour player said.
“I know he’ll never do that, because he’s letting his ego get in the way of common sense. He wants to prove to people he’s right. He would rather prove to people he’s right than be right.”
Woods is having none of it, repeating “this is all a process” like a monk with a mantra. “It felt good after Bay Hill — I’d be creeping towards that,” he said. “Unfortunately the last two tournaments weren’t that great. No big deal. We’ll just try to put it together this week.”
Sawgrass is hardly a comfortable place for Woods to perform another resurrection. In each of the past two years he has withdrawn in the first round, the first time with a neck injury and then, 12 months later, with multiple leg injuries. Before then he could boast one Players win, way back in 2001.
What Rory McIlroy would give for one win here. On his two appearances at Sawgrass he has missed the cut. The world No 1’s discomfort at The Players is so pronounced that last year he decided to skip the event nicknamed ‘the fifth major’.
That is now a source of regret . “It wasn’t one of my brightest moments,” he said.



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