with Robert Bicknell
I am really getting tired of writing about Tiger Woods, but he keeps giving people, especially idiots like me, new reasons to keep him in the news well past his sale date. This time, of course, involves his withdrawal from an event due to a "twinge" in his recently surgically repaired back.
Normally, this would not be earth shattering news, except he decided to heroically show up at the PGA Championship to give it the old college try and, presumably, impress Tom Watson enough to earn a slot on the Ryder Cup team, which is ridiculous as there is no way Watson would dare keep him off.
The sponsors would string poor old Tom up by his ears.
The question really is not about Tiger reaching Jack Nicklaus' record of major wins any longer, but more like is Tiger Woods finished as a competitive golfer and, unfortunately, I have to believe so. I simply cannot see him coming back to winning form with the condition of his body and the horrible swing he has right now.
If Tiger could revamp his swing for less power and, therefore, less stress on his body, he might have a chance. But he would have to sharpen his short game to the level that helped him win so many tournaments. Unfortunately, he seems preoccupied with hitting the ball as long as he did a as youth and hi body simple cannot take the strain anymore.
The thing is, he doesn't need to hit the ball as far as he used to. Technology is allowing everyone, including old men like me, to hit the ball ridiculous distances. All Tiger needs to do is hit an acceptable length, but keep it in the fairway. Something he has trouble doing. Even Sergio Garcia recognized this problem with Tiger when he remarked that McIlroy is more comfortable with a driver in his hands than Tiger.
The other problem is confidence.
Tiger used to be able to play under par without even taking the driver out of the bag, but nowadays he has trouble with every club. This is both a technical issue as well as a confidence issue.
He might be better off dumping Sean Foley and going back to Butch Harmon.
The PGA Championship is the only major event which reserves places for PGA members, as opposed to PGA Tour members, which are as similar as a Ferrari is to a Toyota. Both are cars, but the Toyota cannot hit 200 MPH, unless you drop it off the side of the Bitexco Tower.
People often believe, especially here in Asia, that PGA members are the same as PGA Tour members, which is not true. They are different specialties. The Tour player is a "professional golfer" meaning he plays golf for a living, whereas the PGA member is a "golf professional" meaning he is an expert in the business of golf. Big difference.
Most PGA Members start out with stars in their eyes, hoping to one day play on the big tour, but often find they just don't have that level of skill. They then turn towards management and teaching instead. This is actually more vital to the continued growth of the game than a Tour pro. These are the guys who manage clubs, fit you for clubs, teach you to swing and sell you a sweater when it gets cool out.
They also help to make sure the buggies are operating properly, tee times are flowing smoothly and ensure the locker room is clean and comfortable. In short, they are the guys who keep the business of golf humming along.
It might not be as glamorous as being on the big tour, but the industry could not live without them.
The PGA Championship is their one chance per year to swing with the Big Bag Guys and see if they still have game. Sometimes they surprise everyone by sticking along through the weekend, sometimes they don't, but the important thing is that they have the opportunity to try.
Many of us actually hope one of the tribe win the whole event just to shake things up a bit and remind the big shots that we exist.
If one of the boys makes the cut and Tiger doesn't…we can consider that a victory of sorts...
But a sad one. — VNS