April 10, 2011
Inconsistency cost Tiger
By IAN HUTCHINSON, Special to QMI Agency
TORONTO - Tiger Woods put on a front-nine clinic yesterday, but he needed to repeat it on the back if he had any hope of winning that spectacular Masters yesterday and it just didn’t happen in the warmth of an Augusta afternoon.
The Tiger who showed up to take on Amen Corner yesterday wasn’t quite as Herculean as the fellow who carded a 31 on the front.
In other words, inconsistency is still a consistent trait of Woods as he gets closer to resuming his career in the style to which he became accustomed, and inconsistency is what needs to change.
At various times on the back nine yesterday, he seemed frustrated and lacking in confidence and likely today there are those who feel his tie for fourth was more typical of Tiger’s tribulations than a sign of him coming out of them.
The difference between nines yesterday was one example of Tiger’s inconsistency as was his stellar back nine on Friday. In one sense, Ian Poulter was correct in pointing out the erratic shots by Woods, although you have to question the wisdom of Poulter publicly picking Woods to not make the top five at Augusta.
It was because of his inconsistency that not many people were picking Woods to challenge yesterday, but he put on a good show and walked off the course tied for second place, needing other players to help him.
I think we saw enough from Woods on the weekend to determine that he is indeed making the progress he talks about when he and Canadian swing coach Sean Foley are second-guessed.
Hopefully, the moment Woods does get his breakthrough win, it doesn’t overshadow what we saw on the weekend due to our Tiger fixation, one that has been more mesmerizing for many people since his personal life was displayed to the public. TV certainly can’t take it lenses off him.
For all the hyperbole we heard about the young international players on the weekend, Tiger is still the focus of attention, not that he shouldn’t be, but the game has an outstanding future when it has a 26-year-old Masters champ who blew the lid off all the theories about needing experience to win at Augusta.
Charl Schwartzel birdied four times to edge Jason Day, 23, and Adam Scott, 30, by two strokes in a tournament that saw Rory McIlroy, 21, lead the first three rounds and showing remarkable composure until blowing up with an 80 yesterday.
Youth was served yesterday in a barnburner at Augusta, a place that often seems more stuck in the past than devoted to the future and TV played right up to it, even though it was starting to look like Tiger was firing on all cylinders.
The temptation is overwhelming to make it all Tiger, all the time, but from what we saw at the Masters, golf will benefit when it looks past that to the powerful, charismatic players now taking over.
The short game
Just as likely as Phil Mickelson is to deliver a highlight reel shot as he did off the pine straw on the 13th hole last year, he is just as liable to deliver a performance for the bloopers reel as he did on the fifth hole on Sunday, where he looked like a public golfer on the green in recording a double bogey to pretty much end any chance of coming back. Mickelson was on top of a lot of people’s picks after his win in Houston last week, but never did become a factor, shooting 74 yesterday and tying for 27th … After Friday’s second round, Bubba Watson said he’d have to shoot a couple of 67s to contend and what do you know, he did just that and was a big mover on Saturday. Bubba was a big mover on Sunday as well, but in the wrong direction, dropping 26 spots into a tie for 38th …. Fred Couples, 51, ended any hope of him making a run at the green jacket after going one-over yesterday to tie for 15th. Couples finished the tournament at four-under.