In this business you’re either right or you’re wrong. There is no in between Last week I told you that Tiger Woods was not a safe bet to win the British Open at Muirfield. Despite some pretty good play for the first 53 holes, Woods signaled he wasn’t ‘back’ when he bogeyed the 18th on Saturday to fall two strokes back and then played about as porrly as Tiger Woods can on Sunday.
On the flip-side, I had Jason Day pegged to win based on his two strong finishes at the Masters and in the U.S. Open. While Day hung around until Sunday, he was never really the threat I thought he would be and finished in a tie for 32nd. He apparently suffered from a pinched nerve in his shoulder but wouldn’t use that as an excuse which is ironically refreshing.
Congrats to Phil Mickelson who shot a final round 66 to win the Claret Jug. Day started just one shot behind Mickelson so that tells you how vast the fortunes can be in The Open.
As for Tiger Woods, it’s time he started to re-evaluate some things if he still has designs on catching Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships. Fortunately for Tiger, and for you the betting public who want him to return to past glory, I have some suggestions to get him right. Whether or not Tiger takes my advice is one thing because I’m usre he’s getting it from a thousand places but I feel pretty good that my ideas will point him the most accurate direction.
1. It’s Time to Reconcile With Butch Harmon. There are those that will say Tiger was just as good if not better under Hank Haney but by brinigng Harmon back into the fold, Woods will also regain more mental toughness. Harmon helped Woods win eight of his 14 major championships.
The issue in this case is all about ego. While most of us would think it all lies whit Tiger that isn’t necessarily true because Harmon isn’t exactly modest. Woods wanted Harmon to be exclusively his while Harmon had already had an established list of clients like Ernie Els and Greg Norman.
No one knows Woods’ swing like Harmon does and if you think Harmon might be out of touch then consider his pupil Phil Mickelson won the British Open yesterday. Tiger needs to swallow his pride and pick up the phone if he really wants to make a serious run at the major championship record.
2. Dump the Red Shirt on Sunday Bit. It used to be cool didn’t it? Tiger would enter the fourth round of a tournament with a lead and there he was with his trademark red polo. The idea was that the red was meant to intimidate his opponents and for a long time I think there was some credibility to that. Not anymore.
Players are no longer concerned with Woods’ wardobe and the act has run its’ course to the point where it is getting to be more humorous than awe-inspiring. Perhaps Tiger could show up in a white polo on Sunday? Can you imagine the talk running through the course? That would actually have more affect on the players than his usual red. Either way, he needs to move on from the gimmick.
3. Stop the Excuses. Every time Woods wins, he overcomes ‘something’ in doing so. When he loses, there always seems to be an issue whether its his knee, his wrist or his elbow. Even fans and journalists are trying to make excuses for him. Mike Greenberg of ESPN’s ‘Mike and Mike’ kept mentioning this morning that ‘Tiger looked like he was limping’ on the course.
Tiger wasn’t limping, he was getting beat. This is how people look when they are so used to winning all the time.
4. Mellow Out or Fire Up. Woods isn’t a spring chicken any longer and we rarely see that youthful exhuberance that drew so many fans to the game of golf. Can you recall the last time he had a major show of emotion that didn’t involve swearing? Tiger needs to decide what he wants to be. After his marital transgressions, Woods said he was working to clean up his language on the course and to be more ‘fan-friendly’ in general.
For awhile that worked, but I sure don’t see it anymore. Tiger needs to decide if wants to be the guy is emotional and passionate or the guy who wants to be back to his robotic ways. I believe this will go a long ways towards making him better overall on the golf course. Trying to do both is just not who Woods is.
If these suggestions fail, then I have several sports psychologists in mind….