Genuflecting In The Temple of Tiger (Four Truths)

Photo of Tiger at Valspar from Golf Digest

Before the believers and the doubters (myself included) overreact to what went down at Valspar, let’s take an objective look at the infallible truths about Tiger’s comeback.

Truth #1:  The smartest thing he did was fire Sean Foley.  Tiger had gone from artist to scientist under Foley’s tutelage and it was just painfully awful watching Tiger twist himself into the proverbial swing pretzel Foley was trying to create.  Tiger is now un-coached.  See any of that at Honda or Valspar?  Nope.  Vision, feel, and imagination are back; watch out!

Truth #2:  Tiger has changed his swing because of his spinal fusion repair and it’s working.  There’s less rotational movement, less torque, a more upright finish, and it’s producing plenty of length.  However, Tiger’s weak point is his surgically repaired legs.  The foundation has crumbled before on several occasions.  Is his lower body strong or a peanut brittle bar ready to snap at any moment?

Truth #3:  Tiger is smart, knows how to compete, and wants to win so badly he’ll do anything it takes, including abandoning equipment that he was previously wedded to.  Also see Truth #1.

Truth #4:  Tiger’s comeback has been brilliant but I still need to see him compete on a course that demands you hit driver consistently.  Genesis at Riviera requires superior driving and he struck it poorly.  He played brilliantly off the tee at Valspar, frequently controlling distance, direction, and trajectory with long iron stingers, but the way you conquer Augusta is to bomb it on the 4s and 5s and get wedges in from the fairways.  Can he win The Masters without consistent performance from the big dog?

I wouldn’t be surprised if he won at Bay Hill this week but The Masters is the 800 pound gorilla in the corner of the room.  You, I, and everyone else are thinking the same thing.  Can he do it?  Well, can he?  Thoughts?

 

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About Brian Penn

Avid sports fan and golf nut. I am a lifelong resident of the Washington D.C. area and love to follow the local teams. Also worked as a golf professional in the Middle Atlantic PGA for several years and am intrigued by the game to no end. I love to play and practice and am dedicated to continual improvement.
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8 Responses to Genuflecting In The Temple of Tiger (Four Truths)

  1. Yes he can do it as long as he can physically hold up. The only reason he lost on Sunday was rust, the one and only. His new swing looks better than any swing he has had in the past. His back and legs are the really BIG if. He will always be one swing away from being in the broadcast booth. But if he does hold up for the next 5 years or so, Nicklaus’s record will be in jeopardy again

    • Brian Penn says:

      Wow Vet, he looked good, but Nicklaus’ record now? Assuming he’s a top flight player AND all the young studs collapse, Tiger would still need to win a major every year for the next four to tie Nicklaus. Then he’ll be 46 where you usually hit the major wall. A very tall order, but it will be fun to watch IF he holds up as you say.

      Thanks!

      Brian

  2. Brian

    No I do not think Tiger will win at Bayhill or The Masters. He definitely has the drive and knowledge, but I am not convinced he is physically ready, yet. Like all comebacks in the past, everyone jumps on the bandwagon so fast it is damaging to Tiger. It is that added pressure I am sure he can do without. He was once golf’s saviour, but now it is time for some else to pick up the reins.

    Cheers
    Jim

    • Brian Penn says:

      Jim, I think Tiger feels he needs the added pressure. Coming down the stretch on Sunday, he had that fatigued look in his eye; you know the one he used to get when he was grinding incredibly hard. I’m not totally sold on the new swing but it certainly is designed to put less stress on his body. There is no replacing that cartilage in his left knee, though! We’ll see if he holds up.

      Thanks!

      Brian

  3. Hey Brian,

    Well, you already know what my answer is. You mocked my Masters prediction back in January, and although you may still have your doubts, I get the impression you are turning an optimistic corner 🙂

    It’s been an interesting progression. Torrey was almost predictable. Rusty, erratic, mental mistakes with a few flashes of brilliance, but basically made the cut on pure will. At Riviera, his whole game was off, not just his driver. He looked uncomfortable on that course and always has. Then his performances at Honda and Valspar seemed to build on each other and I think he started to look comfortable playing tournament golf again, almost like the switch flipped and shots he’s been hitting at home are now being executed in tournaments. Although he didn’t need to hit a ton of drivers at Valspar, when he did, for the most part, it was pretty good. At Augusta, he won’t need to hit it perfect, but he also won’t get away with being erratic on the par 5’s where the winners always make hay.

    It’s going to be fun to watch, especially with all the other storylines…Phil, Rory grand slam (but Rory has zero chance), etc….

    Cheers
    Josh

    • Brian Penn says:

      Josh, I am very much surprised at the speed and effectiveness of the comeback. I think it’s mostly due to Truth 1. Foley’s mechanical approach ruined his mind for a period of time. He looked right mentally and we all know how well you can play if your head is clear. The story line will be bursting with goodies for The Masters. Can’t wait; and yes, what’s up with Rory???

      Thanks,

      Brian

      • Agreed, Brian. Foley is a thoughtful guy but his swing wasn’t for Tiger…and least not the body Tiger had. Maybe this take is tired, but I’m not sure Rory has the desire to achieve what we think he should. He seems to have played all his best golf as a non-engaged/married man…so…I don’t know if that’s correlated. Can’t fault him for having other priorities…but damn. Such a waste of raw talent if that’s the case. Hopefully I’m wrong and it’s a case of “just golf” right now. He needs to putt with a blade again and let the toe flow. His putting looks unnatural.

        Cheers
        Josh

        • Brian Penn says:

          Josh, if ever there was a guy who should be lying on Bob Rotella’s couch it’s Rory. Just straighten the guy’s head out half the time, and he’s got the talent to keep winning majors. I’m not convinced he’s done because he just needs to find that one key on the greens. He may need to seek help in all seriousness. It does seem like a true waste of talent.

          Thanks!

          Brian

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