February 27, 2014

#TigerWoods — sensitive, defensive? But, No. 15 ahead?

Bob Harig at ESPN has a wrap-up on recent indirect back-and-forth between Woods and his former swing coach, Hank Haney.

Haney's probably a bit sensitive about not getting enough credit from Tiger for Woods' success during his tenure as Tiger's coach. (Psst: Hank Haney, let me introduce you to Steve Williams, who showed during Adam Scott's Masters-winning putt that he's probably worth something on the bag.) 

But, most of the sensitivity is on the side of T.Woods.

As Harig notes, the majority — the clear majority — of his major-less drought has been under the tutelage of current swing coach Sean Foley.

As for Haney's particular observations, that Tiger spends too much time working out and not enough practicing, especially on his putting and somewhat on his short game? I'd say they're probably true. We know flatstick problems killed Tiger at last year's Open, and have been problematic at a few other post-2009 majors.

Haney still thinks Tiger will win more majors. I'd agree.

But, do I think he'll win five more? No.

I'll take Haney's observation that Augusta is, indeed, Tiger-proofed, that the way it's shaped doesn't fit Tiger's game today, at face value.

US Open? We know driver accuracy, or lack thereof, can be a killer there. (And Pinehurst, this year, does not strike me as a good track for Woods, even though he was third there in 1999 and second in 2005. Also, it was overhauled in 2011.)

That leaves the Open and the PGA as majors venues more friendly to Woods.

Tiger can bomb it over in the Isles with little worry, in most cases, about accuracy. That leaves scrambling out of the occasional pot bunker, and the putting game. And, this year, it's at Royal Liverpool, where he won in 2006. (Hoylake has had some moderate changes since then, but nothing radical.)

The PGA? It depends on how US Open-like a typical course is made out to be.

Valhalla this year might be a good track for him, as he won there in 2000. That said, the course has been extensively overhauled since he won there and played there for the 2008 Ryder Cup.)

In 2015, Whistling Straits? We know he doesn't have a good record there. Baltusrol and Bellerive the next two years might be better. Philly Mick won at the last Baltusrol in 2005 and Nick Price won at Bellerive in 1992.

So, I'll pencil in Tiger as ending his majors drought this year, most likely at the PGA.

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