Friday, January 30, 2015


SCOTTSDALE, Arizona – If Tiger Woods’s debut on Thursday could be summarised as a toothless performance then Friday’s must have felt like being kicked in the teeth. writes Adam Schupak of
On a chilly, wet day, Woods shot an 11-over 82 at TPC Scottsdale in the second round of the Phoenix Open. It was the highest round of his pro career and he missed the 36-hole cut for just the 13th time worldwide.
“We all have days like this,” Woods said. “Unfortunately, you know, mine was in a public forum, in a public setting.”
It was stunning to see the winner of 79 Tour events and 14 major champions reduced to a sideshow of could he break 80.
After scratching out a 73 in his opening round, Woods’ chances of playing the weekend took a hit early.
Woods drove it into bushes and drove into the water, leading to double bogey and triple bogey on consecutive holes at the 14th and 15th hole. He chunked chips and bladed bunker shots. He was booed for missing the 16th green, but actually got it up and down for one of his few pars. Otherwise, it was a colossal disaster.
Playing the back nine first, Woods was out in 44, matching his worst nine-hole score in his career. If it were a boxing match, the referee would have taken pity on Woods.
Still, the fans tried to will him to do something, anything with throaty calls such as “You can do it Tiger,” and “2015 is going to be your year.” 
A group of fans at 16 mocked Woods when he played the hole by wearing ski masks, but for the most part they sympathised seeing the best player of his generation have no answers. They cheered him like he was the last man to finish in the local 5K.
One spectator voiced the thought of many when he asked caddie Joe LaCava, “Joey, what’s going on?”
Let’s start with the obvious.
Woods gave fresh concern that his short game, of which he was once without equal on Tour, is infected with the yips. When asked to comment on his struggles, Woods merely repeated the same explanation he has been giving since his chipping woes surfaced at the Hero World Challenge in December. “It’s the pattern,” he said. “I’m not bottoming it out in the same spot.”
Tour pro Colt Knost took to Twitter to suggest it might be something more than trusting his new technique. He pointed out that he had watched Woods hit balls for half an hour Thursday on the range:

When asked if it was mental, Woods didn’t discredit such a theory.
“Yeah, to an extent, yes, it is,” he conceded.
Woods was making just his second start since missing the cut at the US PGA Championship in August. This was more than rust. This was more than just part of the process. 
It was his highest score since he shot 81 at the 2002 Open Championship in the third round at Muirfield. Woods said he is caught between his new and old shot pattern, but playing through it would pay dividends down the road.
“You've got to get out there and do it,” Woods said. “Hitting golf balls is one thing and playing golf at home is another. Playing tournament golf is entirely another.
"I have to continue with the process. I have been here before. It wasn't that long ago that I changed my swing with Sean, and I was Player of the Year only a year ago. You've gotta keep things in perspective, and sometimes it's difficult to do that.”
Woods even showed a sense of humour on a difficult day, stepping to the podium after the round and stating, “I’m just doing this so I don’t get fined.”
Woods is scheduled to get back on the horse next week at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, a California course where he has won nine times (eight times at the annual Tour stop and once at the 2008 U.S. Open).
Until then, Woods said he would be practising every day. So much for those plans to attend the Super Bowl on Sunday. Woods said he was heading home to Florida.
Another thousand chips between now and then may go a long way.

Par 142 (2x71)
134 Daniel Berger 65 69
135 Justin Thomas 67 68
136 Bubba Watson 75 71, Ryan Palmer 64 72

155 Tiger Woods 73 82





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