Severe short-game struggles lead to 82 for Woods
January 30, 2015
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
- Tiger Woods got up and down just two out of 10 times during Friday's 82. He was five of 18 for the week. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
“I’m just doing this so I don’t get fined,” he said, echoing Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch.
There was little to laugh about when analyzing Woods’ game, though. His 82 on Friday at TPC Scottsdale was his highest score in 317 PGA TOUR starts. Woods was in last place when he finished his round, posting a 13-over 155 (73-82).
His short game should be of grave concern. Not only did he continually fail to get chip shots close – and several times didn’t even get them on the green -- but he did everything he could to avoid hitting shots with any loft, a sign that he lacks confidence with his short game.
“My attack (angle) was much steeper with (previous instructor) Sean (Foley),” Woods said. “Now I’m very shallow, so that in turn affects the chipping. I’m not bottoming out in the same spot.”
Woods’ full swing is always scrutinized when he changes coaches. It’s the shortest shots that are giving him the most trouble, though. His inability to make consistent contact with the ball makes distance control with the short shots impossible.
He played through cold, drizzly conditions Friday, but nothing like the weather he faced when he shot his previous high score on the PGA TOUR, an 81 during horrendous conditions in the third round of the 2002 Open Championship.
“We all have days like this,” Woods said. “Unfortunately, mine was in a public setting. We take the good with the bad.”
This was Woods’ second tournament since he announced in November that he was working with swing consultant Chris Como; he tied for last in the 18-man Hero World Challenge in December. This also was Woods’ first official PGA TOUR start since last year’s PGA Championship, where he also missed the cut.
“I was caught right between patterns, just old pattern, new pattern,” he said, referring to his previous and current swings. He said the same when he began working with Foley. At some point, though, it would seem talent would allow him to hit decent shots even while adapting to his new motion. He also had more than a month since the Hero to sort out the errors that led to multiple chunked chips at Isleworth.
"The trust is not quite there. I'm not bottoming out in the same spot," Woods said.
Tiger Woods highlights from Round 2 at Waste Management
Woods said he was headed home immediately to practice and prepare for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, intimating that he was skipping the Super Bowl.
His day started positively as he tried to rebound from Thursday’s 73. He hit driver into the fairway on No. 10, his first hole of the day, and hit his approach shot to 10 feet. Woods, who started the day a couple shots outside the cut line, looked like he may be beginning a rally to contend with the cut. Things quickly got worse, though.
His tee shot at No. 11 with driver wasn’t far from the fairway, but came to rest under a lone tree in the right rough. Woods had to squat to hit the shot. His club caught a branch on the backswing, and he only advanced the ball about 10 yards. He missed the green with his next shot and had to hole an 11-footer for bogey.
He made par on the next two holes, though the latter one was a lost opportunity for birdie at the par-5 13th after his second shot ran through the green and into a collection area. He faced a delicate shot from below the green to a putting surface that sloped away from him. Woods tried to bump his ball into the slope, but it ran 16 feet past.
He played the next two holes in 5 over after hitting low pull hooks off both tees. The crowd aimlessly followed him around the desert left of the 14th hole as he looked for the ball. He found two other balls before his, then had to take an unplayable lie. He hit fairway wood from the desert short of the green. He appeared to catch his chip fat, though, and missed his 36-foot bogey putt.
Woods’ tee shot at the par-5 15th went into the water left of the fairway. He hit his fourth shot into a greenside bunker, then caught that shot thin. The ball flew into the rough just past the pin. Woods chunked that shot en route to a triple-bogey 8.
Both Woods and Spieth drove just short of the green at the short par-4 17th. Spieth went first, hitting a low, spinning chip shot to tap-in range. Woods didn’t replicate the shot. He went with 4-iron and hit a weak chip that trickled into the fringe, well short and right of the hole. He made another bogey there.
Woods made a double-bogey at No. 4 and birdie at No. 5 for the second consecutive day. His tee shot at the par-3 fourth went over the green, and Woods hit his chip shot thin and into a bunker.
He hit his approach shot to 5 feet at No. 5, his 14th hole of the day, to make his first birdie of the day. Woods failed to put another greenside bunker shot on the putting surface at No. 6 and three-putted the seventh hole to make back-to-back bogeys. His second birdie of the day came at No. 8, where he hit a 146-yard approach shot to 9 feet.
He closed the day with a bogey at No. 9 after he drove behind a tree in the right rough, and chopped his second shot short of the green. Another low-lofted chip shot stopped 11 feet short of the hole.
He missed the putt to set a new personal record. Just not the kind he was hoping for.
“Hitting golf balls is one thing and playing golf at home is another. Playing tournament golf is entirely another,” Woods said.
Tiger Woods comments after Round 2 of Waste Management
Disappointed, but really appreciate the incredible support this week.— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) January 30, 2015