by Jeff Skinner
I was lucky enough to be able to tune into The Golf Channel’s Pre-Game telecast today. For the longest time they had cameras stationed on the practice range and we got to see most of Tiger Woods’ warm-up.
Watching any of these talented pros up-close is a treat but watching the most scrutinized athlete in the world is special indeed. Throw in the Pro-Tracer that tracks the ball flight and a few of The Golf Channel’s best critiquing each ball and you have a bit of heaven for a golf geek.
To my untrained eye, Tiger looked to have a fine warm-up. He was hitting baby fades and sweet little draws at will. Irons, three wood and driver all looked solid and even Brandel Chamblee and Brad Faxon commented how solid Woods was striping it. Chamblee did say his ball flight looked low but that has been Tiger’s normal shot recently.
For a long while we watched as Tiger piped it and he looked poised to go post a low number. But one the course he started spraying the ball early, hit into the water twice and was soon five over after six holes. On the thirteenth he threw in the towel and withdrew due to a sore back.
Tiger’s “media consultant” (he wouldn’t address the media) stated that he was having back spasms similar to those at last season’s Barclays. It’s his fourth withdrawal in five years and maybe that over developed body is breaking down.
Let’s remember that this is the man that won the 2008 U.S. Open while playing on a broken leg. So he certainly can withstand pain when he needs to. But that was then and this is now and Tiger certainly has looked more distracted on the course in the past few seasons than he ever has.
Bad back or bad scorecard? What was the real reason for his withdrawal? Only Tiger knows but anyone watching that pre-round range session would need some serious convincing that the player that was killing it on the range had a bad back.