Monday, April 10, 2006

Tiger Misses

Phil Mickelson is going to cause Tiger problems on his way to breaking the major championship victory record set by Jack Nicklaus.  Mickelson might run out of time, he is 36 to Tiger’s 30, but he has regained the confidence that was shattered by Tiger’s arrival on the golf scene.  Over the years Mickelson has four putted his way out of victory.  His wild risk-taking style cost him many opportunities to win.  Apparently he has now matured and is now a championship golfer.

This means that when Phil starts a tournament he is trying to win.  In the past he merely wanted to win and felt he could because of his skills which are of course excellent.  Arrogance will not win golf tournaments especially at the championship level.  The great Bobby Jones had the same problem when he started, there is no other comparison between the two golfers, but until Jones learned to control himself and his golfing urges he remained winless when it counted.  Tiger Woods has raised the standard of performance required to win major golf tournaments.  The field is responding by rising to the level and sometimes beyond.

I doubt that there is any real danger of Woods failing to break Jack Nicklaus’ record.  The only thing that can prevent it is Tiger Woods either losing interest or suffering injury. Other players will win majors and Phil Mickelson is well on his way to a record similar to that of Nick Faldo, none will surpass Woods.

Tiger has been tinkering with his swing and he is taking risks that he wouldn’t take in the past.  He has been accused of being to machine like, too boring, but that is what wins tournaments and sets records.  Golf is a game of patience and humility.  One must prepare, commit, and play the shot; if it doesn’t work out perfectly one must move on from there.  Ben Hogan realized this and pointed out that tournaments are won by those who manage their bad shots as very few good shots are ever made under the pressure of a tournament.

Congratulations to Phil Mickelson for winning the Master’s he held up when others faltered.

No comments: