February 13, 2011
This story should be about a 28-year-old Spaniard who won his fifth European Tour title on Sunday in Dubai, emerging from an incredibly star-studded field to do so. It should be about Alvaro Quiros, the long-hitting heartthrob that posted three 68s to end his week, the last coming on Sunday when Quiros made two eagles (the second being a hole-in-one) in his first 11 holes. But the story isn't.
You know what this story is about. It's about Tiger Woods, and it's the continued song and dance about the struggles in Tiger's porous golf game. His 3-over 75 on Sunday was everything you need to know about Woods, and everything that we the public won't seem to accept.
We keep thinking he's back, but he can't be back with the current golf swing he packs in that private jet of his. Talent can carry you so far, as it did the first three days of the Dubai Desert Classic, but eventually, the nuts and bolts of the golf swing will have to do the heavy lifting. Right now, that isn't in Tiger's arsenal.
It is Tiger's second consecutive 75 on a Sunday, a day he used to own like Mariano Rivera owns the ninth inning. The thing is, since the Players Championship a year ago, Tiger has more rounds of 75 or worse (four) as he does in the 60s in the final round. He isn't the same, but we will not accept it. We keep talking ourselves into this guy week after week when we should be looking at everyone else in golf who actually can compete over 72 holes.
We continue to talk about the next event for Woods, and how things might change when he "visits Example A Golf and Country Club, a place he has won at X number of times," but that needs to stop. What we need to look at is what just happened with Tiger.
Woods started the day a shot back of the lead, and ended seven shots back. Tiger shot 39 on his final nine holes, with a double-bogey coming on his final hole of Dubai, a place he had never finished out of the top five until Sunday. Tiger had a shot at making some noise when others weren't, but he couldn't do it, and most of it came down to his ball-striking.
I said before the season started that Tiger would probably win four or five times, and one of those would most likely be a major. I was being naive. I was that girlfriend that always assures her friends that her current boyfriend isn't a jerk, when she knows deep down he is. This Tiger Woods, the one that left Dubai beaten down for yet another week, isn't winning four times in 2011.
This week, he wasn't even the low Wood.