Tiger doesn't have a streak, but is still more interesting
After watching golf on Sunday for the first time in 2007, something occurred to me- I don’t really care about tournaments unless Tiger Woods is playing. When this realization first swept over me, my immediate response was one of fear mixed with guilt. Fear because I don’t want to lose something I’ve always enjoyed so much, and guilt because my love of golf should transcend the dullness of the field on a given week, just as my love of Georgia football is not dependent on the players in a given year. I’ve read everything there is to read about Tiger Woods, I’ve seen his face on commercial after commercial for the last decade, I’ve tried to find things not to like about him (simply because I like pulling for the underdog), and I’ve come to the conclusion that without him, professional golf would be what the NHL is without Wayne Gretzkey.
There are several obvious reasons that Tiger is more interesting than anything else in the game, most of which have been discussed for years, leaving me no reason to revist them. But what I realized after watching the weekend rounds of the Buick Invitational and a few shots from the Dubai Desert Classic is that the main reason I enjoy watching tournaments in which Tiger is playing is that he doesn’t play second-tier courses; almost every venue he plays is worthy of a major championship, which gives him an even larger advantage on the rest of the field. This fact became abundantly clear at the Buick when Tiger managed to get up and down from everywhere while the other “contenders” (I don’t even remember their names at this point) showed why they can’t win by leaving shots in bunkers and crumbling under the pressure around the greens. I’m tired of watching tournaments like the Sony Open that are played on courses without the slightest distinguishing characteristics; put Waialae’s layout in Jersey and it’s no better than the local muni.
Watching the Buick made me question whether Tiger taylors his schedule not as much to allow for breaks, but more to allow himself to play courses that give him the best chance to win. At many of the PGA stops, Tiger wouldn’t win with his “B” game because the scoring gets too low, and even he wouldn’t be able to make up the ground on the best players in the world. But at places like Torrey Pines, Muirfield Village, and Firestone, Tiger is able to win with his short game where the winning score can remain between 10-15 under. I really don’t remember the last time I saw Tiger hit a jaw-dropping shot that wasn’t with a putter or a wedge; his overall ball striking, while obviously good, is not what sets him apart. I am really starting to believe that he knows many (if not most) of the tour courses aren’t challenging enough to give him more of an advantage than he already has, and therefore are not worth his time.
Similarly, because he doesn’t seem to win in all types of tour events, I don’t really consider his streak to be worthy of conversation. Win six straight and we’ll talk; win six over a period of months and that is not a streak.
So, for the rest of the year, I might have to be like Tiger and only watch the events that are played at a course that is worth my time; coincidentally, I guess that means Tiger will be playing in all of them.
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WOW, You have not cared for a tournament in a long,long,long,
long, time. You don't know what you're missing, they don't have Snead and Hogan but there are ads for things I'm sure might interest you, especially
if you long to see Snead and Hogan. You're going back a few years!!!!!
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