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Devil Ball Golf

Tiger Woods crashes out of match play in second round

Jonathan Wall
Devil Ball Golf

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Tiger Woods / Getty Images

It was a putt we'd seen Tiger Woods convert a thousands times in his career: a critical six-footer for birdie that, actually, looked like a sure thing. Or so most of us thought. With a chance to extend the match against Nick Watney, Woods addressed the putt, released the putter head ... and watched the ball slide by the hole.

It was the kind of miss that would have shocked us years ago and been plastered across national websites around the country, but considering the way Woods has played for the last two-plus years (with the exception of his win at the Chevron), the miss was predictable.

After years of watching him make big putt after big putt, we've come to the point where every putt Woods strokes -- even the ones that look insanely easy -- is no longer a gimme.

For the second day in a row, Woods' game resembled a roller coaster, as he put together a couple of good holes only to watch the positive vibes go away with an errant drive or poor chip. The round that summed up the way things have gone recently, as Woods produced a mixture of highs and lows that left you wondering what direction his game was headed.

The funny thing is, it wasn't like Nick Watney was playing lights-out; he too was struggling to get around the Dove Mountain course. But instead of capitalizing on Watney's poor play, Tiger seemed content to just hang in there, never making a move and always relying on his opponent to make the mistake. And when the opportunity finally presented itself in the form of a perfectly placed 9-iron and short birdie putt on the 18th hole, Woods couldn't convert.

We've seen some bright spots in Woods' game recently, as he and instructor Sean Foley completely reworked his swing. There were signs of life at the Australian Masters and in Abu Dhabi; and he put together three solid rounds at Pebble Beach before the Sunday collapse.

For the most part, the positives have outweighed the negatives, but at this point in Woods' career, just playing mediocre golf isn't enough to win. There was a time when it was good enough to beat the rest of the field -- but those days have sadly passed Woods by.

He's human now, and no matter how much some people want to believe that's going to change at some point in the near future, his game says otherwise.

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