Monday, May 13, 2013


As Tiger Woods was still celebrating winning his fourth event of a season at an earlier stage than ever, one of his closest friends was warning Sergio García to drop the “victim” act.
There were many raised eyebrows when in the aftermath of his dramatic collapse at the Players Championship, Garcia declared: “I’m not the bad guy here – I’m the victim.”
But in the Woods camp, the feeling was that they had heard it all before and that the Spaniard was blaming the petty squabble he had with the world No 1 for a defeat ultimately caused by a quadruple bogey on the penultimate hole.
John Cook, the former tour professional who finished runner-up in two majors, is in absolutely no doubt about what is holding back García.
“Until Sergio accepts the fact that he alone is the guy who can change things, not the golfing gods, then he’s going to end up every week saying the same thing – ‘I’m the victim’, ‘why me?”, said Woods’ regular practice partner.
“Sergio’s got to get over that and accept that as he’s a really good golfer he needs to win big championships. But until he changes his whole persona and attitude he’s not going to win the really big events.”
It is difficult to disagree with Cook, regardless of his bias. While Woods was not without fault in the incident during Saturday’s third round – which featured the Tiger fans screaming on García’s backswing as their hero pulled out a five wood for is next shot in the trees – García took his complaint way too far.
And his lament at the end of the tournament – after he had hit two balls into water on the 17th when level with Woods – was little short of embarrassing.
The Spaniard will head to Wentworth for next week’s BMW PGA Championship looking for his first win of the year.
It is unfair to compare anyone with Woods in this form. Never before has Woods completed his four-timer at this stage of the calendar and all roads now lead to Merion for next month’s US Open.
All that is missing from this resurrection of an icon is the major. Sunday, June 16 is the fifth anniversary since his last major triumph. That is the date of this year’s final day of the US Open.
That stat would obviously resonate, but for now golf can just drop its jaw at Woods’ continued rewriting of the record books. Sawgrass was his 300th event on the US PGA Tour.
He has won 78 of them, finished in the top three 125 times and the top 25 240 times. The last time he won four events before June 1 was in 2001 – and he went on to win the next four majors.
Yet perhaps the most foreboding numbers of all for his rivals were his putting stats at Sawgrass. He was only 38th on the strokes-gained-on-the-greens charts. At his last two wins, he was first and second respectively.
The point is, Woods won his first Players title in 12 years by dint of his ball-striking. The three-year overhaul of his swing under Sean Foley is all but complete. He can move it either way at will, as he showed with two beautifully-controlled draws down the 18th.
Woods will play at the Memorial at the end of the month before the season’s second major in Philadelphia in five weeks. He will also make a reconnaissance mission to Merion as he has yet to visit the revered lay-out.
Perhaps there is a little hope for the rest to cling on to.



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