November 17, 2011
Golf is never supposed to make sense. Maybe that's the beauty of the game. You take the club back, pause for that faithful second, and go thrashing at a small ball that could literally do just about anything. The score is never the same. You play every hole different. And some days, there are no words to really describe what just happened.
Cue Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker. Two men who absolutely rolled at this event in 2009 were paired together once more Thursday at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia, to continue their dominating duo. And while there might have been some distraction on the first tee, it was just another match for the two at the Presidents Cup.
Problem was, it wasn't 2009 anymore. Tiger showed signs of a return last week but stumbled coming home and couldn't close out his first win since September 2009 at the BMW Championship. And Stricker might have two tour wins this season, but he hasn't played a tournament since the Tour Championship due to a herniated disc and is not in nearly the form he showed in San Francisco.
But nobody saw this coming. Paired up against Adam Scott and K.J. Choi, Woods and Stricker tied the worst loss in the history of this event, losing 7 and 6. How bad was it for the American team that didn't lose a point the last time this event was played? The team didn't card a single birdie, had three bogeys and hats were in hand on the 12th green.
It's really just ... unexplainable. Tiger and Steve both played some really uninspiring golf, Scott kept the form that has made him one of the best players in the world over the second half of this season and Choi was simply consistent, putting his player where he needed to be and draining some putts when it was his turn.
It's fair to say that the tandem of Tiger and Steve won't be seen again this week. There are losses that happen at these team events, but a beat-down that bad is hard to forget. Stricker's health is an issue. Tiger's game looked far from sharp, and sometimes, you must shake it up to find better chemistry.
Back in 2006 at the match play event, Tiger beat a loose-lipped Stephen Ames so bad, he simply answered, "9 and 8," when reporters asked Woods about the match. I'm fairly certain "7 and 6" will be posted somewhere in the international team's locker room before nightfall Thursday.
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