PGA Championship, round four: Curses - Tiger foiled the plan!
The shot of the round in my mind was the 7-iron Tiger Woods fired to the green at the 15th. It had been a rather tentative, roller coaster affair up to then and he’d had his fair share of luck.
That banana putt for birdie on the 8th was as “out” as two of his missed putts on the 18th in previous rounds had been “in". And as he walked to the 15th tee after his third bogey of the day had left him just one shot ahead of a rampant Woody Austin, the great man was cursing himself with some of his choicest language, by all accounts.
I’ve been searching in vain for a video clip showing that iron shot, because in my mind he was actually shooting from a difficult position, although I admit to being distracted by excited cries from my garden about meteor showers. In any event the shot turned out to be as sweet as you could ask for, leaving him something like 12ft for birdie and closing the door on the opposition, if it had ever really been open.
It felt at least a bit ajar as both Austin and Ernie Els closed to within two shots, and there were opportunities for those who laid Tiger at the start at least to cover themselves as his price drifted north of 1.2. But this was indeed the Tiger who doesn’t lose from a Sunday morning lead and who doesn’t buckle under pressure the way, say, Stephen Ames did from his first tee shot Sunday. Tiger never dazzled in the way he did on Friday, just did what was needed to get the job done. Only thing that puzzled me was his persistence with the driver on the front nine when it was clear from his practice session that it was going to be a particularly troublesome beast.
No matter. A new chapter is being writrten in the tale of Tiger Woods, one where, after the most emotionally draining period of his personal life, normal service has been resumed. It’s interesting now to read those who said Southern Hills would be his undoing. On the contrary, it emphasised how much his game has been moving to a different level. Blasting balls huge distances is now quite secondary to the irons and putter that really mark him out as a superior being. FedEx playoffs here we come.
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