We’ve heard Tiger Woods say it over and over. He doesn’t enter a tournament unless he thinks he can win.
Yeah, but how can Woods possibly think he can win next week’s PGA Championship? I never expect Woods to do what he says, so it’s not like I’m waiting for him to withdraw from the PGA.
But after shooting 18-over in the cutless WGC Bridgestone Invitational, and failing to break 150 on the weekend (74-72-75-77) to tie for 78th (two shots out of dead last), even Woods’ once impermeable sports psychology must be shattered. I wouldn’t be surprised to see club pros beat him next week. Just making the cut would be an impressive turnaround. He lost to Hunter Mahan by 30 shots.
Despite sinking to new depths, Woods is still listed by bodog.com as the 8-1 co-favorite next week, along with Phil Mickelson (both players didn’t help their cause today). I’m not sure how much today’s round will move those odds, but I can’t imagine a figure that would entice me to put money on Woods. 50-1? 100-1? I don’t know. Here are the odds for the PGA across the board, from bettingzone.com (h/t @Esoxgolf):
Woods had 22 bogeys and three doubles this week. He hit just 39.3 percent of the fairways, and only found the green in regulation 48.6 percent of the time. Forget about major form. He’s missing the cut at Turning Stone right now.
According to @jamessherrill, Woods has been 2.88 strokes better than the field in major rounds. In all other rounds, he’s .78 strokes worse than field. Have we even figured out what’s wrong with Woods besides looking at his scorecard? Is it as simple as saying he’s lost his steely resolve and desire because of his tumultuous personal life? And are we to believe that he’ll be able to bring that much more out of his game next week because it’s a major, like his previous tournaments this year suggest?
It’s kind of like watching a college football team that was highly ranked in the preseason lose four games. It takes forever for that team to drop completely out of the polls. Is it time to finally give up on Woods this year?
Woods has no injuries that we know of, and it’s not like he has the yips. There’s no deterioration of skills going on, just a lot of rust. He’s not working on a swing change, but his swing is probably changing anyway because he doesn’t have a coach. He’s just not very good at golf right now.
It’s been a Benjamin Button year for Woods (thus the high early season ranking in our minds). His best tournament was his first, when he tied for fourth at the Masters. Woods put up a fight for one round at the U.S. Open, but otherwise, he’s been completely irrelevant to scoreboard operators.
“It’s been a long year,” said Woods after shooting 77 today.
He’s doing his best to make it end early, as in next week. Outside of a miracle, he won’t qualify for the U.S. Ryder Cup team on points, and he is dangerously close to the top 125 cutoff for the FedEx Cup playoffs.
As for whether or not he should play in the Ryder Cup, Woods concedes that he still has six weeks to round into form. But he doesn’t want to torture himself. Asked if he wants to play on the team, Woods replied, “Not playing like this, definitely not.”
“I wouldn’t help the team if I’m playing like this,” he said. “No one would help the team if they’re shooting 18-over par.”
At this point, Boo Weekley would probably be a better teammate.
[AP Photo/Amy Sancetta]