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Friday, February 28, 2014

Tiger in Neutral, Rory in Overdrive

Did you watch any of the Honda Classic on Thursday? Tiger played before the broadcast window but Rory was featured. And it was probably a good thing it worked out that way.

Rory had the better day by far. He shot a 63 (-7) while Tiger shot 71 (+1).

Rory

Tiger had 3 birdies, 2 bogeys and a double. On the two par-5s -- which most people consider a measure of how well Tiger's doing -- he was even for the day (1 birdie, 1 bogey).

Rory, by comparison, had 7 birdies and no bogeys. It's the first time he's had a bogey-free round at PGA National. And yes, he was -2 on the par-5s (2 birdies).

Is Tiger irritated? I'd say that's a good bet. Is Rory ecstatic? Oh yes... and he said as much:
"I've reached a point now where I'm very comfortable with everything in my game and my swing," he said. "I'm seeing shots the way I want to see them. When I do that, I feel like the scores are just a byproduct of all the hard work and making good swings."
Rory's back to where he's just hitting shots. That's what he needs going into the majors. As we've seen in the past, Rory tends to press when he's not comfortable with his game.

Tiger's still trying to get his swing in shape, which doesn't surprise me -- after all, he's still rebuilding his swing so it doesn't wreck his knee and end his career prematurely. That's not as simple as everybody seems to think it should be. Personally, I won't be surprised if it takes another couple of years before Tiger reaches the level of consistency both he and the rest of us expect. I don't think it'll take that long for him to get another major, but getting his swing where he wants it is another matter.

These struggles may actually work out in Tiger's favor. If he gets to the Masters without a win -- unlike last year -- his expectations will probably be a bit lower and he might swing more freely.

Of course, Phil's playing too and he shot even par... which tells us absolutely nothing about how well he'll play in the majors.

I bet both Tiger and Rory wish it were only that simple... ;-)

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