Altvater: Tiger continues to improve but no major titles in 2012Written by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
More than four years have passed for Tiger Woods with no major championship titles to add to his collection.
The last time we saw Tiger hoist a major trophy was that historic 2008 U.S. Open win on a broken leg at Torrey Pines over Rocco Mediate in a Monday playoff.
After Tiger’s encouraging performances in the Australian Open and the Presidents Cup last fall everyone was confident that he was in the groove and would get back into the major hunt in 2012. Another positive sign was Tiger winning his own small field invitational, the Chevron World Championship in December.
He was back in the hunt in 2012, but he didn’t bag a Green Jacket, U.S. Open trophy, Claret Jug or Wanamaker.
Tiger has won three tournaments in 2012. He even shot a final round 62 at the Honda Classic in March to put a scare into eventual winner Rory McIlroy and collect a second place finish. He even tied and surpassed Jack Nicklaus in the number of PGA Tour wins. With 74 official wins, he is now just eight behind Sam Snead.
Woods has climbed from outside the top-50 on the Official World Golf Rankings all the way back to No. 3 behind Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald. With his strong play this year on the PGA Tour he is No. 1 on the FedEx Cup standings heading into the FedEx Playoffs in two weeks. You know he wants that silver cup filled with $10 million.
Even with all this success this year, it has been another lost year for Tiger Woods.
Tiger’s No. 1 goal is to surpass Jack Nicklaus’ total of 18 major titles. Tiger has 14 majors and his play in the majors this year was somewhat less than stellar.
- The Masters was a fiasco. He shot 72-76-72-74, five-over par for the week, and was never a factor, finishing T-40. He even had a nasty temper tantrum and club-kicking incident at the 16th hole on Friday.
- The U.S. Open at Olympic Club started off just as Tiger would have scripted. He played magnificently the first two rounds. Every part of his game was under control. The weekend was a completely different kettle of fish, however. After holding the 36-hole lead, he shot 76-73 on the weekend to finish T-21.
- At Royal Lytham in the Open Championship, Tiger played very conservatively all week and was in contention right up until he took a rather unfortunate triple-bogey seven on the sixth hole on Sunday. He did go on to finish T-3 but in the end no Claret Jug for Tiger.
- The PGA Championship at Kiawah Island was Tiger’s last hope to salvage his year and get a major. He was in contention until the winds blew the Wanamaker Trophy out of his grasp on Saturday. He made three bogeys through his first seven holes at the start of the third round. Severe weather halted play just as Tiger had a putt for par on the eighth hole. Play was resumed Sunday morning and Tiger missed his par putt to start his day and posted a disturbing four-over par 40 for the front nine. He did manage three birdies and a bogey on the back nine for a two-over par 74 for the round. He started the final round Sunday afternoon seven shots behind eventual winner and heir apparent Rory McIlroy. Tiger finished T-11 and was in the mix until Saturday but it was another case of the game disappearing on the weekend at a major.
Tiger did not shoot a round under par in a major tournament on the weekend in 2012. That is an amazing statistic that tells the story of a player that is not quite ready for prime time.
Tiger will turn 37 at the end of December. Knee surgeries, personal problems and swing changes have kept him from being competitive and performing at the level he would like. Will time and his creaky legs allow him to reach his career goal of besting Jack Nicklaus?
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