Tiger Woods needs to figure out how to win a different way
Tiger Woods isn't even close to winning majors right now and he needs to realize that.
Did you hear what Tiger Woods said Friday after missing the cut in a major for the fourth time of his professional career? If you didn't, here it is:
"I need to get stronger. As I said the other day, I need to get my glutes strong again, my abs and my core back to where I used to have them. They are just not quite there yet.
"I felt like I wasn't that far away when I came back at Quicken Loans, but obviously the more I play -- you can't develop strength the same time as you are playing a lot. I need to get back in that gym and get stronger."
I know what he means (I think) in that his body doesn't feel good enough to be a medium for that swing of his, but I also wonder how much of what he said is referring to gaining distance and power off the tee and beyond.
If he does mean he need to get his power back -- and I think part of him does -- he needs to realize that the length and strength that once made him elite are never coming back.
It was the distance when Woods was younger that made Bob May say, "Oh my goodness" after Tiger cut the corner off his first tee shot in their final round together at Valhalla in 2000.
But Woods hasn't been in the top 20 on tour in distance off the tee since 2007. He's never going to outhit Rory McIlroy or Bubba Watson or Jimmy Walker -- all guys who are younger and stronger and fitter than he is.
And if he continues to chase power as a harbinger for major wins then those wins will never come.
I'm actually glad Woods finished his round on Friday, as poor as it was, because I hope it made him realize how far he is away from winning majors right now. He was 15 shots away from McIlroy's lead and it probably felt like a lot more than that.
Granted, part of that is the rust -- Woods was good to terrific in majors in 2013 -- but part of it is because younger, better players are playing a long game Woods is unfamiliar with. The same thing Big Cat did in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
So now Woods has to figure out how to win a different way and reinvigorating that putter that was once the conductor for the most electricity we've ever seen at major championships would be a good place to start.
Woods was abysmal on the greens at Valhalla. I mean abysmal:
But, as simple as this sounds, that's a facet of your game that doesn't wane with age. It's the one thing Woods can use to advantage into his 40s and even 50s. It's the one thing he can grab back from Father Time.
It's why Phil Mickelson is still cranking out major championships well into his 40s. Phil has always been a circus off the tee but his short game is impeccable.
Maybe Woods got a glimpse of that in his 36 holes with Lefty this week. Woods gained (or lost rather) 1.1 strokes per round on the greens in his first two rounds, an unheard of number for the Tiger who was winning majors.
So you can call upon the intimidation factor or the back or whatever you want for why he's not surging toward Jack Nicklaus, but I don't think you have to look much past the flattest club in his bag.
I just hope he figures it out sooner rather than later.
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