Love succeeds where Tiger falls short
This past week was easily the best that Tiger Woods has swung and played this year. His first two rounds were vintage Tiger golf. He swung freely and aggressively and hit numerous spectacular shots that we have been accustomed to see in the past. Seeing this display the first two days, I predicted that he would be the winner on Sunday. I thought he would shut the door on his competitors on Saturday and have a commanding lead and coast to the finish on Sunday. Saturday’s round was a disappointment, because he had his chances and didn’t capitalize on them. 68 was a decent round, but the three putt finish on 18 took him out of the final group and one shot further behind to start the final round. In the last round when you needed to be aggressive, Tiger was stuck in mediocrity. Of the top 24 players going into the final round all where under par early in their rounds, while Tiger needed a birdie on his ninth hole to shoot even par.
Davis Love on the other hand ceased the opportunity and closed the deal. Even though he hadn’t been in the winner’s circle for quite a while, he remembered how to win a tournament and preformed like he was twenty years younger. The other leaders did not have many PGA Tour victories, so they were vulnerable to folding down the stretch. Tiger and Davis were the only players in contention that had the winning experience. That advantage should have worked in Tiger’s favor, but it was Davis that completed the task.
Tiger’s tournament ended on the 11th hole, where a terrible iron shot put him well left of the green. His pitch was skulled over the green and four shots later he had triple bogie seven. I don’t know what to make of that short game display. He was very good all week, but that was a mess. The worst it should’ve been was a bogie, but it still would have put him out of reach of the leaders at that point. With a bogie on the next hole, he stood four over par for the round and had he parred the rest of the holes, he would’ve only beat two players in the entire field the last round! He did birdie four of the next six holes and shot a respectable even par 70, but the damage was done long ago.
Davis became the third oldest player to win a PGA Tour event. With the players staying in great shape and competing longer, I would not be surprised to see players like Davis keep winning into their mid-50’s. Davis has been fighting injuries and has slowly been coming back. But once he got into real contention the last round, he knew what to do and wasn’t afraid to let it out and win.
Tiger on the other hand showed that he isn’t all the way back. In this tournament he played golf and not golf swing. He was aggressive and wasn’t fearful that his swing wouldn’t hold up. I enjoyed the first two rounds. Third round was a bit cautious and therefore revealed he wasn’t ready to take charge. To win this tournament on the last day required a low score. He came out conservative and not charging and let the tournament get away from him. The last few holes showed that his game is solid, but also before that he couldn’t do it when there was pressure on him.
Congratulations to Davis Love for ceasing the opportunity. Tiger Woods didn’t cease the opportunity and now his season is over. This past tournament shows he has the game to win. He needs to play more tournaments and for him to feel the pressure again and for him to respond positively. If he just goes out plays “golf” his game will hold up and he will regain the winners touch. I see only good things for Tiger in the 2016 PGA season.