Home' Australian Golf Digest : April 2018 Contents 66 australiangolfdigest.com.au | april 2018
e’s returning to augusta national to play his first Masters
in three years. Yes, the golf world is more than intrigued by the
prospect of Tiger Woods going for his fifth green jacket after missing
12 of the 27 most recent Major championships because of injury.
▶ So many questions. Can he win? Has his brittle body been restored
to some semblance of the dominant force who won 14 professional
Majors by age 32? Now at 42, what’s his mental outlook 13 years after
his last Masters victory and almost a decade since his last Major win,
with subsequent chipping yips and wayward driving still seared into
the synapses? Who are the other contenders (or pretenders) for the
year’s first Major? Who among the favourites are battling the putting
yips? (You might be surprised by one of them.) ▶ To get the answers,
Golf Digest interviewed dozens of players – including 11 Major
champions and five Ryder Cup captains – along with tour caddies,
teachers and broadcasters in a candid Tiger Confidential. As you’ll
see, the insiders have a lot of questions as well. The definitive answers
come starting April 5 on a field of green in Georgia.
WHY TIGER CAN WIN
A FIFTH MASTERS
(AND WHY HE CAN’T)
major champion He still has a bit of an aura.
If he gets into contention, the roars will be
different. Everyone will know who it is. That
will resonate with the others.
broadcaster Yes, he’s lost his invincibility.
The younger lads are not frightened of him –
or so the theory goes. But if he puts his name
on the leaderboard on Sunday, we’ll see how
unconcerned they are.
multiple winner on tour He played with
Justin Thomas in the Bahamas, and the
player of 2017 took a step back. That was
teacher There will be at least a few of the
top guys driving well at the Masters. A few of
them will putt well, too. So for Tiger to beat
all of them, they’re all going to have to have
a lot of mishaps elsewhere on the course. It’s
possible that they all have a bad week. Not
teacher Now he can win. He couldn’t
possibly before. He had a choice to make,
and he chose to clean himself up. That was
the one thing that he’d never done, which is
face up to the traumas in his life.
I think his people have looked at the
physical pain that he’s had to deal with, but
I also think there’s been a lot in his heart,
too. That DUI was a turning point, because
anything could have happened. They found
him asleep at the wheel with popped tyres.
In that area there, you could just go off a
cliff. You’ve got those opioids in your system.
Is that all just taking care of back pain? Is
it physical issues? Well, sure. But it’s about
pain elsewhere, right? He used the word
grateful down in Albany [the Bahamas].
Gratitude is an expression of humility.
Before, he probably didn’t even know what
that means, to be grateful. But we become
grateful for things in our lives when we’ve
been through a lot of pain. He was close to
the edge, and now he’s feeling grateful to
have gotten through all that shit. I think he
really did have a near-death experience. I
mean, look at the mugshot that was splashed
all over the place. Did you ever think that
the guy you covered in 2000 who was at the
top of the world would ever have a picture
like that? He was a deity. The stuff he went
through – and regardless if he’s the one
responsible for putting himself through that
– he dealt with a lot of stuff that few people go
through. He was hanging on to a lot of shit,
and he looks like he might have had a deep
inner moment and let it all go.
teacher Everyone is asking, can Tiger win
at Augusta? First, he has to play there. He
has to be physically OK, which is not a given.
If he plays a lot, and decently, leading up to
the Masters, I can see him teeing off in one of
the last two or three groups on Sunday, but
it’s hard to see him winning. Every week on
tour, a guy takes every risk imaginable and
pulls it off to win. You can play strategically
sound golf and finish second to that guy. To
win on tour, you almost have to be willing
to miss the cut in terms of aggressiveness
and style of play. That’s what Tiger will be
facing on a course where stupid risks are just
that. And at least one of the top guys will be
playing with his A-game. Can he beat that
guy? Probably not.
broadcaster He wants to win one so badly,
he could get in his own way. Wanting so
much to stick it up Brandel Chamblee’s bum,
he can’t get past that.
7/3/18 2:18 pm
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