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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

In Hindsight, Was Some of Tiger's Run Smoke and Mirrors?

I have a new theory about Tiger and his dominance at majors. It goes like this: If the Masters wasn't at Augusta, and he had never played the Open Championship at St. Andrews, he would only have four major championships.

His four non-Augusta/St. Andrews majors came at Pebble, Medinah, Valhalla, and Bethpage. Could he have mastered those courses through a combination of peaking at the right time, bowling over other players through intimidation, and a bit of luck?

Obviously, the Masters will always be at Augusta, and the British will always be played at the home of golf every five or ten years. However, imagine if those championships were played at places like Winged Foot, Shinnecock, or Ballybunion. Would his game have held up?

We saw last week how Tiger needs lots of room in order to succeed. If he doesn't drive it straight, he doesn't contend. Cameron Morfit from Golf Magazine takes my theory a step further, hypothesizing that without wide-open, burly layouts, Tiger would win regular Tour events much less often than he does. Consider how many times he's won at Firestone, Bay Hill, Doral, Kapalua, and Torrey Pines. Without those stops, his win total would be impressive, but nothing like it is now.

Tiger's game might simply be in transition. It's been there before, and he's come back and won lots of tournaments after he made the necessary changes to his game. However, with his father passed on, a relatively new wife, a knee that might not be 100%, and a Tour full of players who aren't afraid of him anymore, could this be the dawn of Tigger, and the sunset of Tiger?


Anonymous Jay said...

Stop hating on Tiger. I understand the "horses for courses" argument ... but Tiger wins pretty much anywhere he chooses to play ... and I think the tracks he's won on are generally considered some the toughest courses ... there's no way that he can win every major played ... he certainly has weaknesses right now ... but just enjoy watching his talent ... would you be happier if he wasn't around to watch, I know I wouldn't?

10:10 AM  
Blogger John Gorman said...

I'm not hating Tiger. Just because you are in love with him doesn't mean I can't speak the truth. He's obviously won on a bunch of courses, but his vulnerability is exposed when he plays tight and quirky layouts.

I appreciate his talent, but I question his future a bit. He'll win plenty of tournaments, but his aura is tainted. Guys aren't petrified of him like they used to be.

12:41 PM  
Blogger riord said...

Johnny 5, I thought that was an interesting point until I realized you lifted it right out of Golf magazine. Next time you try to pass off somebody else’s stuff, at least don’t include the link right next to it….

Let’s face it, tight tree lined courses are the ones that reveal however good you really are at golf, and Tiger comes right back to the field whenever you put him on one. Half the time he’s spraying it into the woods after another one of those million mile an hour swings with the Sasquatch or he’s hitting irons cause he’s sick of losing balls. The only way he even breaks 78 at these places is by hitting that hack ‘stinger’ shot and scrambling like a madman. Man crushes on Tiger aside, I doubt he’ll ever win on real courses like Winged Foot.

12:01 PM  
Blogger John Gorman said...

Those are strong words about Tiger, and I agree with them wholeheartedly. However, my theory was posited (not in print), long before the aforementioned article. Maybe I should quit my day job and take over for Lanny Wadkins??

2:07 PM  
Blogger John Gorman said...

In addition, if tree-lined courses reveal one's true skill, then I admit to being far from skilled. Give me a Twisted Dune or someplace else without trees any day. Otherwise, I'm toast. That's probably the only thing Tiger and I have in common.

2:10 PM  

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