Players Championship: Has Tiger Woods lost his mojo?
At best, Tiger Woods was playing with his “C” game this week at The Players Championship at the TPC at Sawgrass. Nonetheless, somehow it was good enough to get him into the final pairing with Alex Cejka on Sunday.
And when Woods is in the final group, you expect him to make a charge, especially in a big event like The Players, which many players consider a “fifth major.” You always get the feeling that Tiger can turn it on at will.
Guess what? Apparently he can’t. He really isn’t super human.
Today, it was Henrik Stenson who played the Superman role. Starting five shots off the lead set by Cejka after three rounds, Stenson shot an incredible bogey-free 66 in a dried-out fast golf course and blew by Cejka and Woods. And he didn’t have to undress to do it (see this year’s WGC-CA Championship at Doral).
Although Cejka’s collapse was monumental (final round 79), it wasn’t shocking. But for Woods to shoot 73 and bow out of contention early was pretty surprising. As Johnny Miller said toward the end of the broadcast, Woods is no longer “making it look easy,” which is what we had come to expect over the years.
You can’t help but wonder how much effect the layoff from knee surgery is still having? Are other players merely stepping up? Will Hank Haney be able to help him? Are we sure Woods will indeed eclipse Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors. Not long ago, that was certainly a given.
Woods is only four off the record, but there really is no guarantee he will ever win another major, much less four or five.
Woods obviously has plenty of career left, and he will not fall off the map like David Duval, but a lot of things have to go right to win majors. Woods has clearly been much better than everyone else in the world, but that gap could be closing.
My guess is he will get a few more majors and the record, but it might not come as quickly as we thought it would.
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