Tar Heel Fan

Friday, July 21, 2006

Tiger on the Prowl; ABC Rejoices

Undoubtedly the sound of unbridle joy heard this morning was coming from ABC executives who are positively giddy over the fact that Tiger Woods is at the top of the leaderboard going into the network's weekend coverage of the British Open. Tiger's disappointing outing at the U.S. Open where he failed to make the cut in his first tournament since his father's death has faded in favor of vintage Tiger who recorded an eagle two on the par 4 14th hole. At the time Woods was three strokes in front at -12 and since then Ernie Els has closed to within one in the clubhouse at -11. This is not surprising for two reasons: 1. Woods played well at the Western Open two weeks ago. He finished second and appeared to show signs that everything was clicking. Losing your father, as I found out, takes more than a week or two to deal with, in fact you never really deal with it you just adjust to a new reality. The crucial mistake for Woods was making the U.S. Open his first tournament back given the difficulty the USGA provides on the course during that tournament. In Woods' case his father's death is magnified by the fact that their relationship and golf were intertwined. Playing golf for the first time without his father watching, whether it be from afar or on the course was a difficult task. The same was true of Michael Jordan who retired from the game after his father died and anyone who does not think the two are related does not understand the grief process. 2. I think Tiger likes the course. Royal Liverpool has not been host to The Open since 1967. Not many of the golfers have seen it before and Tiger's first look at it was a week before play started. According to the analysts the course plays significantly shorter than it is listed because the ball rolls and skips so easily on the fairway. Also, when you drive the ball like Tiger does having par 5s in the mid to low 500 yard range is tatamount to handing him birdies and eagles which is precisely what happened in the first round when he finished the final three holes(pars 5-4-5) with birdie-par-eagle to get to -5. He will be paired with Ernie Els, a major winner in his own right, so it should make for compelling viewing tomorrow morning/early afternoon. Another reason to like the British Open. The rounds wrap up earlier in the day.

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