Remember how surprising it was back in April when Tiger Woods won the masters and it seemed like the bad decade plus injury that hell he spent between big championships could finally finally spit out a Tiger Woods who could again compete against a new generation of golf stars? Remind yourself of that excitement, because if you hoped for a repeat on The Open, hoo boy was a great old disappointment on Thursday. Tiger wasn't just nasty – he looked like worn out and diminished as ever.
The problems immediately began, at first tee, with Tiger wincing ominously after tearing the opening operation in the cabbage. The conditions were nasty enough on Royal Portrush without Tiger also stiff and tender after his very first blow in the tournament:
It was pretty much slope from there. Tiger scratched out the pairs on the first four holes but gave up the ground along the way and then went to the bogey-double bogey-bogey and made the course a zigzagging-cross-country outing, bouncing off various cuts of rough and in and out of sand dunes. His lonely birdie came on par-4 15, at which time he was already six shots over couples and about one million of the lead. Tiger ended with a miserable 78, tied to the third worst round he played on a major tournament in his career. He took 32 putts, hit only eight fairways and was 10 out of 18 on greens in regulation. He said. His round was so insecure that one moment of fleeting success was worth a mockfest (and was soon followed by another bogey).
Inferior to the score was how Tiger jerked around the track, frozen all the time and bent gingerly and grimacing and stretching. After it was over, Tiger gave a very bleak account of his condition and the chances of regularly competing. Per ESPN:
"Just as it is. Father Time and some procedures I have had over time. Just as it will be. As I said, one of the reasons I play smaller tournaments this year is that I can hopefully extend career and be out here a little longer. "
" I'm not 24 anymore. Life changes, life goes on. And I can't dedicate myself, as I have said many times, I can not spend hours practicing as I used to. Stand in the range, hit balls for four or five hours, go play 36, come back, run 4 or 5 miles and then go to the gym.These days are gone.
"I have to be realistic about my expectations and hope to hope for the right time. I reached the top of Augusta. And hopefully I can nail a few times this year. "
Tiger looked at Pebble Beach in June and after a month he saw even worse Thursday in Northern Ireland. It is evident that regardless of sequence of procedures and treatments and pilates or what is consistent with Augusta has not transmitted its positive effects to the summer and is obviously not repeatable. His bionic backbone is still an unstable touch, and from the sound of it is not good for more than a couple of real pushes in a tournament a year, albeit. Tiger seems to have gone to a future there " peaking at the right time "physically the difference between competent play and horrific, painful embarrassment.