Tiger Woods Needed Some Finishing Touches
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Despite the rumors surrounding his divorce settlement, his broken relationship with AT&T and the buzz around his interrogation session with the FBI regarding Dr. Anthony Galea, Tiger Woods was managing to push the distractions aside and play some golf. For 13 holes at least.

What appeared to be a decent day for Tiger took a turn for the worst on the 14th when he three-putted, missing a five-footer for par. And then came the reachable par 5, the 16th. He pushed his drive in the rough and laid up to 83 yards in the fairway. Easy shot, right? Wrong. He pushed a little sand wedge into the bunker.

A befuddled Nick Faldo said, “Are you kidding me? From 83 yards?”

Exactly my thoughts. He looked like a 20 handicapper. He gets a free pass with that club throw (as seen above). By not snapping the club over his knee, he showed great self-restraint.

His bunker shot ended up seven feet from the hole. Another miss put him to one-over.

Okay, he’s going to recover and birdie out, right? Because that’s what Tiger Woods does. Wrong again.

On the par 3, 17th he hooked his tee shot into the drink. Honestly. From the drop area, he knocked it to about 15 feet and missed another must-make putt. (Surprise!) Double-bogey.

At this point, Tiger was lucky he only had one hole left. Birdie time, right? Triple-wrong. He crushed his drive down the middle. Hitting his approach to five feet, he missed the birdie putt and posted a three-over 73.

“I keep hitting it like this, I’ll be fine,” Tiger said. “The putts will start going in. It felt good to drive it on a string again.” That’s a bit of an exaggeration as he hit eight of 14 fairways, but he was striking it better.

What I found most bewildering was his inconsistency around the greens. I don’t expect Tiger to stripe drives down the middle every hole. But I do expect to see him scramble from the rough to make par. Before the scandal, when he stepped up to a five-footer, it was almost a given he was going to make it. He missed three from that distance today.

Basically, Tiger played like a normal pro that was distracted and vulnerable. Who can blame him? Golf is hard enough and if the reports about the imminent finalization of his divorce are true, then he’s got a lot on his mind. The quicker things in his personal life are put to rest, the sooner we’ll see the “old” dependable Tiger back on the golf course. Hopefully. If we’ve learned anything from the Tiger mess, nothing is for certain anymore.

[AP Photo/Rob Carr]