Sunday at The Open Championship saw Tiger Woods tee off five shots back of the lead, and with tough conditions on the course it looked like steady play might be the recipe for a fourth Open title. After starting his round with five straight pars, and finding the fairway with his drive on the tough par 4 sixth (which he had birdied the previous three days), Tiger’s chances for another Claret Jug were put in serious jeopardy when his approach shot found a deep green side bunker. “One yard.” is all he said to caddie Joe LaCava, meaning he missed his target by just a few feet, and ended up finding serious trouble as a result. Such is the Open Championship, Tiger ended up carding a seven, and found himself seven shots back at the time.
But again, it’s the Open, and anything can happen at any time (hence the outcome of the tournament), so Tiger was by no means out of the championship at that point. After a birdie at the seventh hole, I’m thinking a few more birdies and he’s right back in it. But it was not to be, as Tiger’s round became a seesaw battle between birdies and bogeys, and with three straight bogeys on 13, 14 and 15 his hopes were fading fast. A birdie at the last gave the crowd at 18 some excitement, but that was about it as it seemed that Tiger was going to fall short at Royal Lytham.
But there were many positives to be taken from the week — Tiger struck the ball well and was in control of his game for the most part. The way he’s playing you have to consider him one of the favorites for the PGA Championship in two weeks at Kiawah Island. Tiger’s scorecard and four of his stats for the week are below — notice that he bettered the field average on three of them. A key number is the 82% of fairways hit (the only one better was Nike Athlete Francesco Molinari with 87%), which to me shows he’s controlling his golf ball. The course setup at Royal Lytham makes the driving distance stat less relevant, as Tiger was often hitting fairway wood or iron off the tee.
What did you think of Tiger’s week at Royal Lytham?