Tiger Woods 2011 - Year of the Tiger Delayed Indefinitely

2011 was supposed to be Tiger’s year even if it is the Year of the Rabbit. Having put his personal garbage out at the end 2009 and after a torrid 2010 season where Woods struggled with a lack of form, no tour wins and a reworked swing with Canadian coach Sean Foley, 2011 was supposed to give golf fans the thrill to witness Tiger Woods return to his former glory.

The reality has been very different.

Tiger Woods

Wood’s best finish has been a T4 at the Masters in April, and he has only achieved two top ten finishes in the season. Injuries to his left anterior cruciate ligament and Achilles tendon, sustained at the Masters, saw him not only miss a month recovering, but he had to withdraw from The Players Championship in May midway through the first round due to aggravating the injuries after his first tee shot.

Tiger is currently 77th on the US Money list, 99th on the World Money list and has fallen to 15th in the World Rankings. 2011 season was thrown into further turmoil when Tiger Woods announced that his injuries have not healed enough for him to restart playing. Now Tiger will miss the 2011 US Golf Open at the Congressional Country Club in Maryland.

So the question many golfing experts have been asking is, “Why isn’t Tiger bouncing back?

Certainly, Woods has done so in the past. When Tiger Woods struggled during 2003-2004 and made some famous adjustments to his golf swing; his return to form in 2005-2007 was outstanding.  A few years later, the death of his father, Earl Woods, also hit him hard, but once again Tiger bounced back to his best, winning majors and titles on a regular basis.

The 2011 version of Tiger Woods has struggled and it is painful to watch.

There have been promising signs, but that is all they have been. There has been no consistency to follow up a good round. Woods finished 4th at the Masters, a promising result, but injuries have hampered his progress since then. Despite the occasional signs of promise, there have been far more frequent and worrying signs for Tiger’s legions of fans.

His golf swing is at best erratic and at worst destructive. One wonders if the remodelling of his swing with Sean Foley is to do more with preserving his body, rather than improving his golf. The unerring consistency that was once Woods trademark, particularly with his driving and his short game, is sorely lacking.

Tiger Woods

But perhaps, more tellingly, so is the focus.

The Woods of old was notoriously irascible at times with the media, which earned him a reputation for being aloof. After his personal life revelations, Woods promised to try harder to promote a better image for himself. While still not fully comfortable in front of the camera, it is clear to see Woods has worked on fostering a better image. But it seems to have come at a cost to that single-minded determination which drove him to unparalleled success over the majority of the past 15 years.

There is an almost tangible relief Woods shows when interviewers question him about his injuries, or his lack of form or which tournament he will return to competition in, rather than asking questions about his family life or current marital status. It almost seems as if Tiger Woods’ lack of form has provided the distraction from which he can escape his personal hurt, even if it means dealing with lesser performance as a professional. His remodelled swing, fall in ranking position, lack of form and injuries have all provided reporters with plenty of grist other than his private life.

Of course, while Woods is not sacrificing his results to draw attention away from his private life.

What does the future hold? When Tiger finally does get fully fit, it will be interesting to see if he can find the form that has so deserted him? Can his new swing bring him back to former heights? Can he find that magical single-minded focus on being the best once again?

The year of the Tiger may have been indefinitely delayed, but few would bet against this wounded beast roaring back to form when fully recovered.

Images by: Gorilla Golf Blog, Keith Allison

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Dan@Golf Shop June 12, 2011

That’s right, beware of the wounded beast. When he gets back, he’ll come all the way back.


Buddy Lindsey June 14, 2011

I can easily see him coming back and kicking it into high gear. I think that he is kind of a personal, mental game, downward spiral he has to finish going down. He’ll be back and better than ever.


Tommy Priest June 15, 2011

Hope so!


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