Patrick Blake is a sports commentator and host of the Blake’s Take radio show on KZNU Sports 1450 AM 96.7 FM – Southern Utah Sports Network.
PEBBLE BEACH, CALIFORNIA – As the two biggest names in the golf world went head-to- head on Sunday, Tiger Woods never looked so confused while Phil Mickelson looked clam and under control. Putts weren’t falling, tee shots were going way right again, and the streak continued. Will Tiger ever pass Jack and win the 18+ majors that everyone thought?
Tiger’s winless streak is now up to 27 months and he has not won on the PGA Tour in 29 months. Tiger’s last PGA Tour win was Sept. 13, 2009, at the BMW Championship.
Since then, Tiger had his huge scandal with his wife and him playing around – off the golf course. He went to a new swing coach and had a few injuries.
Tiger said coming into this season that he had his first healthy off-season in over five years and was able to “work on his game” the way he wanted to. He said he thought his swing would finally hold up under pressure.
Tiger has played two events this year; his first was on the European Tour in Dubai where he shared the lead with Robet Rock going into the final round. In Tiger’s second start he trailed only Charlie Wi and Ken Duke at Pebble Beach, a course he has won on before.
In Dubai, Tiger could not make the big putts and Rock was on fire early; just like yesterday, at Pebble, Tiger cold not make a putt while Mickelson was five under through six holes.
Guys like Rock, Wi, Duke and Mickelson used to crumble when Woods was in contention. Wi started his round with a double-bogey and was four over after six, but Tiger never got it going and Wi calmed down and ended the round with three birdies in a row to finish in second place.
In Dubai, Rock birdied three of his first six holes to beat Tiger who finished in a tie for third, Tiger shot an even par 72 and finished three shots behind Rock. Mickelson shot an eight under 64 while Tiger shot a three over 75 and finished tied for 15th.
All this time away, it seems that Tiger has worked on his swing and it holds up well through three days – but he cant put it together under pressure on Sunday. The day that Tiger used to come out and make everything, even watch everyone around him fall apart, now has him falling apart and whoever is playing with him making everything and winning. (Both Rock and Mickelson played in the same group as Tiger on Sunday and both went on to win.)
Tiger needs to get back to the putting green and work on his short game that used to never let him down.
Under pressure Tiger is missing the short putts, or unable to get up and down from the green side-bunker.
Tiger only has three more events until the Masters. Tiger will tee it up in the Accenture Match Play tournament in Arizona in a week-and-a-half, then play at Doral in Miami, Fla. March 8-11. And Tiger’s final Masters tune up will be at Bay Hill in Orlando, Fla. in the Arnold Palmer Invitational March 22-25.
Tiger will always have a chance at the Masters, that’s his favorite course; and even in his slump over the last two-plus years, Tiger has finished fourth in the Masters back-to-back years.
Will Woods get to 18 majors? That seems less likely every time he tees it up? Will Tiger win again, some think with his recent play he will, but others think he has to teach him self how to win again.
The ongoing Tiger drama is well watched, last week’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am had its best TV ratings in 15 years.
Copyright 2012 St. George News.