Tiger Woods Plagued by Late Round Meltdowns

Yahoo Contributor Network

Lost amid the epic meltdown Adam Scott suffered on the final four holes at the 2012 British Open is the fact Tiger Woods suffered another weekend meltdown at another major.

For the second time in 2012, Woods squandered a chance to win his 15th major after going into the weekend in a favorable position on the leaderboard. Woods trailed Scott by only four strokes five holes into the final round of the British Open. If he had played to the same level as the previous three rounds, the Claret Jug would have been his for the taking.

Woods took himself out of the running, like many other golfers chasing Scott, with a terrible final round. The low point came early on the 6th hole. Woods got trapped in a bunker when his first shot did not clear the lip. He had to get on his knees and hit it sideways to pop it out on the second shot. He finished with a triple bogey on the hole and never recovered.

This latest collapse comes on the heels of a third round meltdown that took Woods out of contention at the 2012 U.S. Open. At the Olympic Club, Woods blew a 36 hole lead and finished well out of contention on the final day.

Woods built a reputation early in his career as a clutch player who could get it done on golf's biggest stages. Lately, he has been more choke artist than clutch winner.

There is no doubt Woods has improved from where he was at even a year ago. He rose to no. 2 overall in the most recent world rankings. Woods has also won more individual tournaments than any other golfer on the PGA Tour this season. The problem he now faces is an inability to close out at majors.

One reason Woods failed at the 2012 British Open, and ultimately finished tied for third place, is his insistence on being conservative through early rounds when taking an occasional chance on long drives could have helped him grab an early lead. Woods stuck to using irons and played it safe. It helped him stay in the top five, but prevented him from moving up the leaderboard.

Even with three uninspiring major performances, Woods remains the favorite at the final major of the 2012 season. Woods has already been given 7-to-1 odds to with the PGA Championship in early August. By comparison, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood share 15-to-1 odds to win and Rory McIlroy has 20-1 odds.

Woods seems to be on the cusp of returning to his old self at times. Then, at other times, he suffers an inexplicable meltdown that offers evidence he still has work left to do. What it means is the notion that he would eclipse Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major victories is no longer a foregone conclusion.

John Coon enjoys getting in a round from time to time in the Salt Lake Cityarea when he is not covering golf as a freelance sports reporter.

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