by Jeff Skinner
If you were asked to use only two words to describe the 2010 PGA season they would have to be “Tiger Woods.” The entire season was one Tiger Soap Opera after another. It actually started in 2009 with the fire hydrant that brought down a champion.
The “Tiger watch” started on that Friday following Thanksgiving and hit high gear at his “apology press conference” then catapulted into hyper-drive upon his return at The Masters. It wasn’t a pretty sight, on the course as well as off. Woods tried his best to act like his game was not affected by his off course escapades but it obviously was. Throughout his year it was plain to see that the great one was taken down a notch or two.
Tiger’s mediocre play allowed others to shine and we ended up with a most unique mixture of major champions. Phil did his best to jumpstart the year at Augusta. Graeme McDowell started his “Stud of the Year” campaign at Pebble Beach. Louis Oosthuizen shocked the world at The Open Championship and Martin Kaymer hung on to win The PGA Championship. If Tiger is, well, Tiger he probably wins at least one of those but as we all witnessed he wasn’t Tiger at all.
Last year everyone from Jack Nicklaus to this writer thought Woods would take a few more steps towards Jack’s major record. With his shutout in 2010 holding him at 14 majors, 2011 has become an even more significant year for Woods. If Woods can’t find his game and manage a major championship win in 2011 he’ll have gone over two full years without a major. He’s 36 and in a desperate search for his swing. It’s not a position where Woods ever thought he would be.
Tiger is busy with swing coach Sean Foley rebuilding a swing that can give Tiger the type of game he used to play. Every time he stepped on the tee he was brimming with confidence. Now, he has no idea where his ball his going. They used to say about Jack Nicklaus that when he teed off he knew he was going to beat you. You knew he was going to beat you and he knew that you knew he was going to beat you. That’s how it was for Tiger, but not any longer.
2011 will be a bigger test for Woods than 2010. With his divorces from Elin and Hank Haney settled he has no personal excuses and he is now free to play golf. We’ll see if Woods and Foley can rebuild his swing and allow him to contend with the best in the world. He’s at a crossroads in his professional life. He can only hope that there are no more fire hydrants in his way.