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Friday, July 3, 2015

It's Only One Round But...

Tiger's 4-under 66 at the Greenbriar on Thursday seems to have shocked everybody. That much was evident when you listened to the analysts. Tiger's round wasn't shown live -- he was in the morning wave and finished long before the broadcast window -- but we got to see some of the shots in replay as the analysts struggled to sound knowledgeable about what Tiger was doing.

Tiger on the prowl

Let's face it: Tiger continues to surprise us all. And only Tiger himself seems to be surprised by our disbelief. Perhaps my favorite line from his media talks after the round -- other than his assessment of that skulled sand shot that he meant to hit close to the ball and succeeded, that is -- was when he said:
"I felt like I wasn't very far away. I know people think I'm crazy for saying that, but I just felt like I wasn't that far. I just had to make a couple little tweaks, and I felt like I pulled that off."
While the analysts tried to explain the possible reasons why Tiger played so well, I was surprised that no one mentioned the fact that he has NEVER played well at the White Course. Since he's never played well there, he probably had no expectations -- as opposed to, say, Torrey Pines where he has pretty much owned the course over the years.

I've written before about players like Tiger and Phil saying they "aren't far off" when we see them spraying the ball everywhere. But to borrow from yesterday's post about the stages of a golfer, players like Tiger are consciously competent even when they appear to have lost control of their swings. They generally know that THIS is the problem, and they have some idea about how to fix THIS, and it may take them a while to get THIS back in line but there's no question that THIS is what they need to fix. It gives them a confidence that the rest of us lack.

I don't know how Tiger will fare today. He may struggle again because progress is rarely steady; it's always a matter of ups and downs. But he's been doing well on the range for a while -- the media has confirmed that -- and they've been seeing the same things on the course lately, as they did this week during the pro-am. It had to start showing up during the official rounds eventually.

For me, the important thing is that when it showed up this time, it gave him the lowest round he's had in two years. That sort of thing doesn't happen unless you're doing something right. I'm in hopes that we'll be seeing more of that "something right" this week. And we'll all get to watch it if it happens since he's in the afternoon wave.

But I think it's time we faced two facts:
  1. Tiger really does seem to know what he's doing.
  2. And he still has the ability to do things that none of us can wrap our minds around.
That in and of itself should make today very interesting.

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