The Masters championship that Tiger Woods ceremoniously, unexpectedly and dramatically won in April didn’t catapult the legend to a flurry of wins reminiscent of his prime years when he was the most unstoppable force on the PGA Tour.
In fact, the 43-year-old, who won at Augusta admits that achieving the elusive victory drained him. Winning probably did take a bit off of Tiger’s mental edge as he’s been ultra-focused on getting back to the mountaintop for over a decade.
A huge monkey was lifted off of Tiger’s back with that win, so it’s understandable that Tiger has struggled in the months since winning the Masters.
As far as golf goes, there was nothing for Tiger to prove — short of catching Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major PGA Tour victories — before he won a 15th major and first in 11 years.
You’d have to think that he’s searching hard for motivation now at this point. As Tiger tees off today in the 2019 British Open, golf’s GOAT says that he’ still trying to get his energy back.
The British Open starts tomorrow. Can Rory win one in the UK or will Tiger-or another contender-snag the Claret Jug?
Woods told reporters on Tuesday: “Well, getting myself into position to win the Masters … it took a lot out of me. That golf course puts so much stress on the system.”
On his game, he added:
“It’s not quite as sharp as I’d like to have it right now. My touch around the greens is right where I need to have it.
“I still need to get the shape of the golf ball a little bit better than I am right now, especially with the weather coming in and the winds are going to be changing. I’m going to have to be able to cut the ball, draw the ball, hit at different heights and move it all around.”
Woods enters the British Open at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, having played in just three events since his Masters victory. He failed to make the cut at the PGA Championship. He finished tied for ninth at the Memorial Tournament and managed to finish 21st at the U.S. Open.
For most golfers, that’s a career stretch. For Tiger, who has reinvigorated the sport with his return to glory, anything short of a major is considered a bad day.
It’s hard to say if Tiger will ever have the hunger he displayed in 2018 and ’19 as he worked his way back from the abyss to the top of the PGA world. The British Open was a very important tourney for Tiger during his comeback. At last year’s Open, Tiger briefly stood atop the leaderboard in a major tournament for the first time in seven years.
It was the first sign that he still had an elite golf pulse.
After bogeying four of his first six holes, three-time U.S. Open champion Tiger Woods caught fire and finished with six birdies, including four over his final six holes, to shoot 2-under-par 69 in the final round of the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links. It was his best U.S.
However, this time around, no one was buying his humility. And most opponents will consider his comments just another form of playing possum. Tiger is not only one of the most talented and experienced golfers on any course, but he’s a master of mind manipulation.
He may not be at 100, but his challengers aren’t taking anything for granted as Tiger’s been known to do the impossible like Broadway Joe, so… sleep if you want. It’s called tempering the expectations. Tiger’s short-lived career as an underdog was fun. Now that he’s expected to win every match again, he has to come up with a way to keep the story and fan support going.