Tiger is going home. Four words no one thought they’d say come Friday (and if you did, good for you). He was the overwhelming favorite. Another shocker. Many of us (present company included) were ready to practically hand him the Claret Jug before the tournament even started. Just goes to show how much we know.
Why did things go awry? First off, it’s this wonderful game of golf. We’re all entitled to bad days – like Poulter and Ogilvy. I really put my foot in my mouth after I slammed them earlier today saying Tiger would never pull a performance even close to that. For Tiger, if he’s not in first, then he might as well be in last. At best, he had his D- game.
Links golf is like chess. It’s more about strategy than power or distance – two of Tiger’s strengths. It’s true that’s how golf is usually played. It’s true that’s how it always is in golf. But it applies to Turnberry to a greater extent than any other course on the PGA Tour schedule. Tiger is known to recover from errant shots, especially off the tee. At Turnberry, it’s not as easy and those mistakes will be punished. Say you hit a shot 10 yards off the mark. Well, all of a sudden because of the wind, it’ll be a 40 yard miss. What was a bad shot turns into a really bad one. Case in point was Tiger’s tee shot on the 10th hole. He tried to hold it under the wind, but blocked and push-faded it into the fescue. The result? Lost ball and double-bogey.
To Tiger’s credit, he tried to make a last-minute run to finish below the cut line. After carding 7-over-par in 6 holes, he played the last five 2-under-par, which included birdies in 2 of the last three holes. But there just weren’t enough holes. Yeah, here’s a huge newsflash: Tiger is human!
He won’t be playing this weekend. But the world isn’t going to end. The British Open will continue.
[Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images Europe]