Frustrated Tiger puts the boot in after he blows his big chance
22:59 GMT, 7 April 2012
Five o'clock shadows were marching relentlessly across Augusta National as thousands of Masters patrons made their way towards the exits.
Among the exodus were a father and his young son dressed in Tiger Woods garb, his face a picture of disappointment.
‘There’s no point staying any longer,’ said the father, rather heartlessly. ‘He’s got no chance.’
Hacker: Tiger Woods reacts to another poor shot
A week that had begun with the mighty Sports Illustrated, with all the wisdom of a pub bore, explaining that Tiger versus Rory was ‘the only story in golf’ has reached the final day with one half of the equation failing completely to live up to his side of the bargain.
If this is a rivalry, then Woods fits effortlessly into the Liverpool role to Rory McIlroy’s Manchester United. He even won his equivalent of the Carling Cup, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a couple of weeks ago. Come the Masters, however, and his third round was almost done before Rory’s had begun.
Not going his way: Tiger Woods struggled on Saturday
When that father and son left the grounds on Friday afternoon, Woods had six holes of his second round to complete. If anything, the offspring was spared the worst, an unravelling down the stretch so dramatic and complete that Sir Nick Faldo, in a brilliantly vivid piece of TV commentary, declared: ‘I think we can officially say Tiger has lost both his game and his mind.’
Just as well for another reason that the son was not watching — for the deterioration in Woods’s behaviour and language matched the slide in his game. There were frequent ‘god-dammits’ and clubs thrown in anger.
There were so many pained expressions and times when he covered his face with his cap.
/04/07/article-2126681-1281CF28000005DC-382_468x324.jpg” width=”468″ height=”324″ alt=”Frustrated: Woods throws his ball to his caddie after sinking a putt” class=”blkBorder” />
Frustrated: Woods throws his ball to his caddie after sinking a putt
There was more appalling behaviour yesterday that will have troubled the Green Jackets. On the 13th tee, tucked away from the spectators but not TV’s prying eye, Woods slammed his three wood into the turf as another shot went astray, producing an ugly divot.
If someone behaved like this at a members’ club they would be ushered towards the exit. So much for Woods’s self-professed wish to become a better person in the wake of his sex scandal.
In four victories at the Masters, Woods had never entered the weekend in anything worse than fourth. Here, he found himself out of position at tied 40th at the halfway stage after a 75 that was only one shot shy of his worst score as a pro in 18 appearances at the Masters.
A third-round 72 has hardly altered his position and left him with nothing more than pride to play for today. He’s got plenty of work to do to avoid his worst finish at Augusta since joining the paid ranks, which stands at tied 22nd in 2004.
Long way back: Woods finished the day three over par for the Championship
There are people who will insist that, technically, he is working on the wrong things with his coach, Sean Foley, and they will point to the fact he was last after two rounds in fairways hit and tied 50th in greens hit in regulation.
But if that is the case, how can you explain his technical excellence going into the event, the fact he led the U.S. Tour stats for total driving To go from No 1 to last suggests a psychological problem.
As in the second round, Woods got off to the perfect start yesterday, at two under for the first four holes. As on Friday, he ‘blew it’, to use his own descriptive phrase on that first occasion.
Was this really the player who had gone into the event ranked the favourite by those people who usually know what they are on about — the bookmakers
This was a demonstration of the pressures that encompass major championship golf, and the difficulties that lie ahead as he tries to find his best game, never mind the aura that once accompanied his every stroke.
‘I don’t think we’ve ever seen him look this uncomfortable at Augusta,’ said Faldo. This was the new Tiger, now 36 and with demons to confront and overcome like everyone else.
On Friday he had practised in the dark, vainly groping for a solution. Not after yesterday’s round. What would be the point
It is back to the drawing board he needs to go, not the range.