Jul
20
2014
Tiger feels encouraged after disappointing Open finish
By Bernie D'Amato under The Open Championship

More work to do.

After a second round 77, Tiger Woods needed to put together something special if he wanted to have a chance at winning The Open. Instead, Woods continued to struggle, and finished with rounds of 73-75 for a six-over total.

Tiger’s road to recovery from back surgery is still a work in progress. If you include Congressional, he has played six rounds, and only broken 70 once. However, there is a lot to look forward to with the PGA, FedEx Cup Playoffs, and Ryder Cup, so there is no doubt Woods will be working hard on his game to prepare for the final stretch of the year.

The only caveat is Woods’ health. “The fact I was able to play a few weeks ahead of time, and I’m only getting stronger and faster, which is great. I just had to get more game time. I think we did the smart thing by not playing too much leading into this event, just want to assess how my back was. And where I need to strengthen, how I need to go about it, how to gain my explosiveness again, and all that’s come along.”

Tiger has extra motivation because he would like to make the Ryder Cup team, but he is currently 72nd in the Team USA Points Standings.

He said, “I got picked by Corey Pavin back in whenever it was when we played in Wales (2010). I was coming off an injury as well there with my Achilles, and I sat out for most of the summer. And I felt like I was able to contribute to the team,and that’s all you want as a pick, you want someone who can contribute to the team, whether it’s in support or it’s in play. I did it then, and hopefully, I can actually earn my way on to this team.”

Tiger also spoke about why Rory is in an ideal position. “I think the beauty is having such a large lead. You can make mistakes and still win the golf tournament. The guys have to come get you. And I think that the way he’s playing, that he’s controlling his ball. And yesterday’s finish, that’s what you have to do to separate yourself, and he did a wonderful job of doing that 3-4-3 in the last three holes. And all of a sudden went from tied to a six-shot lead, and now he’s got a gap.”

“He can afford to play conservatively today. Also, he can afford to play aggressively. When you’ve got a big lead like that, he has the opportunity to play both ways, if he wants to.”

Open Championship leader board.

–Bernie D’Amato

(Photo: Wilfredo Lee – AP)