Teed Off (24-06-2012)
with Robert Bicknell
As expected, at least by me, Tiger Woods demonstrated once again that he is not the same player he was before his troubles. The question is when or if he will return to form.
It's not unreasonable to consider that he just might not be able to do it. After all, look at David Duval, struck down in the prime of his game. So was Scott Simpson (not the winner of the 2012 US Open, but he did win the US Open in 1987 as a matter of fact), but that was probably before most of our reader's time.
At the time, he changed swing guru's and was not really heard from again out there. The same thing happened to Greg Norman for a while, before he went back to the guy who brought him to the party in the first place, Butch Harmon.
All good/great players go through a period where they simply cannot get out of their own way. There was a time when I was playing to a plus-3 handicap and thought I couldn't do anything wrong out there, until I took a three-week Christmas holiday and woke up sweating in the belief that I forgot how to swing a club.
Turns out, the dream was correct and it took me six months to get back below par. So, it really can happen to anyone, which is a scary thought especially for big bag Tour pros.
What will happen to Tiger is anyone's guess, but I think it's time we focus on other players and let whatever happens, happen. It's no use dwelling on his on and off again comeback. Perhaps that's a lesson for us, as well as Tiger himself.
As happens in the US Open, an unlikely winner appeared in the guise of Webb Simpson.
Imagine this, the tournament prior to the US Open was the Nationwide Memorial where he placed 104th. Prior to that he was 92nd in the Players Championship.
Imagine the betting line on him for the US Open. Somebody made a huge chunk of change for sure. That wasn't just a dark horse, it was a black as the ace of spades horse.
However, you have to give him a lot of credit for holding it together in the face of charges by two great players, Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell.
The question is who will make a charge at the upcoming Open Championship at Royal Lytham on 19th to the 22nd July 2012. Make a note of that date as I will probably forget it again and I really don't want to resort to yet another "mea culpa" column to explain once again why my brain doesn't function in real time.
With every major tournament, the only constant is the chances of an unknown to pop up out of nowhere and steal the show. What are the odds of it happening yet again?
There are still a lot of good players out there lurking in the wings who have not won a major. Come to think of it, there are still a lot of great players who haven't won a major.
Woods, McIlroy, Mickelson, Kaymer, etc., are all current betting line favourites, but included in the list are BPTNWAM's (Best Player To Never Won A Major) Luke Donald and, surprisingly Lee Westwood. With his talent I would have thought he'd shed that moniker a long time ago.
But on the other hand, Colin Montgomerie never won a major in his career either, but nobody would deny that he was a lesser player because of it. During the Ryder Cup tournaments, he was a one-man wrecking crew.
Sergio Garcia still remains firmly on the BPTNWAM list, but I don't see him getting off it anytime soon. Personally, I think that Donald and Westwood will shed the title before Sergio, especially as more time goes by.
But, is getting off that list all that important? In the case of David Duval, once he kissed the Claret Jug hello, he kissed his career goodbye and hasn't been heard from since.
Mickelson stayed on that list for quite a while before breaking through in a big way, so perhaps it's just a matter of time for Westwood and Donald. — VNS