His game is not the only thing that failed Tiger Woods at the 2012 Masters. Woods also came unhinged mentally after childish temper tantrums in the second and third rounds of the tournament drew more attention than his play.
Woods was never in serious contention during any of the four rounds at Augusta this year. He shot himself out of the tournament from beginning to end and finished with 5-over 293 through four rounds. That score meant that Woods finished 40th overall and it also ranked as his career worst score at Augusta. It is a huge disappointment for a former No.1 ranked golfer that many people pegged as a favorite to win another Green Jacket this year.
More disappointing than his play is Woods' meltdowns at various holes during the middle two rounds. He drew criticism in the second round when he kicked his 9-iron toward the tee box on the 16th hole. It was Woods' way of reacting to a poor shot moments earlier. He lost his cool again in the third round when he flung his club to the ground on the 13th hole after hooking a shot into the trees.
Woods offered up feeble apologies after both incidents, but it does not excuse his out-of-control temper. These outbursts are nothing new. Woods has carved out a reputation of being intense and passionate to the point screaming and cursing whenever a shot does not go his way. Those outbursts are becoming more noticeable as his game grows increasingly average and could turn off fans to the sport.
A mental meltdown for Woods mirrors the way his game has melted down at Augusta this weekend. He is just 1-under on par-5 holes for the week. It is a sharp decline from 2011, when he was 10-under on those same holes, and 2010, when he was 15-under on the par-5s.
It is too early to suggest this is the beginning of the end for Woods. Still, his tantrums at Augusta are showing he can no longer handle the pressure of playing for a major like in the past. Woods has lost his invincible aura on the course. Now it seems he has also lost his cool.
John Coon enjoys getting in a round from time to time in the Salt Lake City area when he is not covering golf as a freelance sports reporter.
- Tiger Woods