by Jeff Skinner
Tiger Woods took a long walk spoiled yesterday, a very long walk. When Tiger claimed his 75th PGA Tour win at the Farmers Insurance Open what looked like a probable run away had turned into a death march. The excruciatingly slow pace of play took a toll on Woods as he let his eight shot lead dwindle to a four shots before he closed it out. His nearly four hour, eleven hole round got the better of him, “I started losing my patience a little bit, and that’s when I made a few mistakes,” Woods said.
As painful as it might have been Tiger is now one for one in PGA Tour starts and may have set the tone for a successful season. Woods drove the ball fairly well, putted superb and his short game, that handicapped him last season, was in fine form. Woods stated that his short game was back due to the fact that he is comfortable with his rebuilt Sean Foley swing and that allowed him the needed practice time to refine the short game. True to the old Woods form prior to scandal and injury, Woods scrambled like mad and got the ball in the hole from all over.
For some golfers one win would make a season but as we know for Tiger that’s not the case. Multiple win seasons are the norm for Tiger, multiple wins with a major thrown in were the standard for Woods before 2010. In 17 years on tour he has 13 seasons with multiple wins and only four seasons with zero or one win. As a matter of fact he has nine seasons with five or more wins. His staggering totals took a hit during 2010 and 2011 when he was shut out but with three wins last year he looked to be back on track.
Of course, Tiger’s track is slightly different from most players. Even with last season’s three wins most Tiger watches would deem 2012 a failure: no major championships.
Does this win at Torrey signify a blockbuster season for Woods? Or will it be another “average” year with wins but no majors. Tiger may be comfortable with his swing but there were a few wayward shot on Monday and the Tiger of old takes that six stroke lead and increases it to win by double digits. His sputtering over the last few holes put some doubt in the minds of some Tiger watchers.
To that extent Woods is a victim of his own success. He could win a dozen times this year but if he is blitzed at the majors, he’s failed. No other player can win so many tournaments and still be looked upon as a failure.
Whether Tiger can find the formula to break his major winless streak (2008 US Open) is one of the big questions of the 2013 season and he’s off to an impressive start. 71 days to the Masters and the real start to Tiger’s season.