Tiger Woods could learn something from Players Championship cool cat Henrik Stenson
It’s amazing how easy golf can be when you hit fairways off the tee. We see it every weekend playing our own ball (I hit four fairways this morning at the Quarry in San Antonio - and my iffy score reflected it).
In the Players Championship, it was the difference between Tiger’s final round plus-1 (not all that bad considering the field) and Henrik Stenson’s blistering, bogey-free 66.
It was the cool and collected Swede who “drove for dough", hitting almost every fairway over the weekend. Thanks to his tee ball (and a 3-wood that goes as far as most drivers), he takes home a cool $1.7 million, which back home in Sweden, buys you little more than dinner and drinks for four at T.G.I. Fridays.
I’m utterly dumbfounded at how Tiger Woods can get up-and-down from anywhere on the golf course. When Phil Mickelson can’t hit fairways, he misses the cut. When Tiger misses fairways all week, he plays in the final group on Sunday and if he doesn’t win, still finishes in the top ten.
I’m more impressed with Tiger’s ability to contend every week over the amount of times he pulls out the win.
The reason he’s always a factor is because his putting is lights out and his chipping is even better (his short game is better than Mickelson’s, who is more creative and a showman, but not always bank like Tiger). It makes me even more amazed he can’t figure out how to hit more fairways in the clutch, especially on a golf course that doesn’t require more than two or three drivers in a round from a guy of his length. I forget which NBC analyst hit on it today, but what happened to the reliable “stinger"? Does it hurt the left knee more than a regular shot? I want some answers on why it’s out of the bag.
I was also in awe of Stenson’s relaxed course demeanor as he played for the game’s biggest paycheck. He hardly broke a sweat, while Tiger looked like he was passing a kidney stone for four hours. I thought Golf 101 states when your swing is off in the beginning of a round, you’re supposed to relax your body and get back to a nice, smooth tempo (yes, an 9-handicap just offered Tiger Woods a swing tip). As we saw in Tiger’s final few holes, when the victory was out of reach, he relaxed and hit good shots. That’s not a coincidence. He just needed to lighten up earlier in the round.
Or as the old coaching guru “Chubbs” famously said, “Go to a happy place.” Somebody tell Elin to Netflix Happy Gilmore before Tiger dials Hank Haney for a tune-up.
Or maybe Tiger needs to stop watching The Haney Project, he’s starting to develop Barkley’s hitch.
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