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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How a 62 Changes Things

Tiger celebrates another good puttWhen Tiger shot that 62 on Sunday at the Honda Classic, it appears he did more than post the best final round of his career. I said yesterday that I thought it was his lowest round ever -- I couldn't remember a round lower than 63 in any round -- but apparently he's had a few 62s and even a few 61s. They just weren't in the final round.

ESPN ran this article about the final round at PGA National. You might enjoy reading it, especially to read Ernie Els's comment to Tiger as they played the 2nd hole. That was priceless! But the article reinforced something I noticed in the post-round commentary on both ESPN and GC.

The talk surrounding Tiger's game has changed. Even the skeptics seem to be 'buying in' to the evolution of Tiger's swing under Sean Foley.

Perhaps it's the total lack of bogeys or worse in that final round. Perhaps it's the fact that Tiger shot that round in the worst of the weather. Perhaps it's the knowledge that his round could have been a shot or two lower. Perhaps it was Foley saying the putting woes were Foley's fault and that the two of them had figured out what happened... and it worked. Perhaps it was Tiger not fading in the final round. Or perhaps it's simply the desire for a full-blown Woods-McIlroy rivalry.

I'm not sure exactly what caused the change but one thing is clear: This record final round has shaken the ground under the feet of Tiger's critics -- the ground they were so sure had buried his game for good. I've heard more than one skeptic pick Tiger to win at Doral this week.

To me the real irony is that the source of Tiger's inconsistency may have been something dreadfully simple. Over the past few days I heard changes in ball position cited by several people when talking about each problem Tiger seemed to have solved. That's a lesson for every golfer: Never overlook the small things, the fundamentals of the game.

Monday Tiger committed to Arnold Palmer's tournament at Bay Hill, which will give the Big Cat 4 PGA Tour events in 5 weeks. That's quite a string for him.

Maybe that 62 changed things for someone besides the media. Smiley Faces

The photo came from this article at the Palm Beach Post site.

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