Altvater: Woods struggled on the back nine again Sunday at the WGC-CadillacWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
Tiger Woods won the World Golf Championship’s Cadillac Championship at Trump Doral on March 10. He did, however, continue a trend from last year by struggling on the back nine in the final round.
Woods started Sunday’s fourth round with a four-stroke lead over Graeme McDowell and was five shots ahead of Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker. Woods did manage to post a one-under par 71 on Sunday but made bogeys at No. 16 and No. 18.
He had stretched his lead to as much as five strokes throughout the round but a late run by Steve Stricker and two late bogeys by Woods made it closer than it should have been at the end.
Woods struggled in 2012 to post good scores on the weekends. His mental focus and the tension of closing out a golf tournament is still not quite what we have come to expect from him over the years.
His father, Earl Woods, was a member of Special Forces, served two tours in Vietnam and retired from the army as a Lieutenant Colonel. Earl used military tactics to teach the young Tiger to defeat an opponent. Never give an enemy an opening to come back to catch you. Crush the foe and take no prisoners approach to the golf course.
For most of his career Woods would extend leads in the final round. He would make a ton of birdies early and thoroughly deflate the rest of the field. When he led after 54 holes, the rest of the field knew they were playing for second place.
Woods did start strong on Sunday with birdies at Nos. 2 and 4. He did not make another birdie until No. 10 and two bogeys late in his round on Sunday is a sign of the doubt and insecurity that still lingers.
There have been 41 WGC tournaments held since they came to being in 1999. Woods has won 17 of them and he likes to make statements.
What better way to inform your fellow competitors that they don’t have a chance to win major championships when he consistently wins these elite field events over the best players in the world?
This was his fourth win at Doral and the 76th win of his career. He is now just six behind the career wins leader Sam Snead who had 82.
This is Woods’ second win in 2013 and gives him five wins in the last 12 months. Although he has not won a major title since the 2008 U.S. Open, he appears to be getting closer to returning to the winners circle at major events.
He will have one more start at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, an event for which he is the defending champion and has won seven time previously prior to the Masters.
If Woods is in contention at Bay Hill, golf fans should watch how he closes out his round on the back nine.
That will be an indicator of his performance at Augusta National and if we can expect to see the “Old Tiger” don a fifth Green Jacket and dominate again.
To win the “Grand Slam,” you have to win the Masters.