(Jeff Palopoli) With Tiger’s nose-dive this past week at the WGC, how much of this do you think has to do with his parting ways with Hank Haney and/or not being associated with a swing coach right now? Or is it simply just as he says, “not practicing enough, because of spending time with his kids”?
Stefan: I think very little of Tiger’s problems is because of his split with Hank. His head’s just not into it, on the range or on the course. Nobilo put it best the other day when he said Tiger’s mind is in “Hyperspace”. Tiger’s more than able to put his swing together from a technical point of view, but his concentration is off. I’ve backed him as much as anyone this year, but this week’s performance was abysmal. Even the worst player in almost any field any week is able to break par at least once in four tries, and Tiger wasn’t even close.
From a technical point of view, he has to lose that head-dip on the down swing. There may have been a time he could compensate against it and be successful in spite of it, but those days have gone.
The Hack Shack is a group of golf fans and golf bloggers who like to comment on the current events in the world of golf.
WE’VE HAD SOME TIME TO LET THINGS MARINATE FOR A BIT: WHAT ARE THE IMPRESSIONS FROM THE US OPEN THAT YOU THINK WILL STAY WITH YOU THE LONGEST?
Stefan – Pebble continues to be one of the most beautiful places in all of golf. Great win for McDowell. I’ve liked him since watching him with Rory in the World Cup last year. I go back and forth on that 14:th hole, whether it’s fair or if now and then professional golfers can just stop the whining and play the thing. Tom Watson walking up 18 was very memorable. I still maintain Tiger is not far away from being his usual world-beating self.
Jack – I thought it was a pretty memorable US Open. I love Pebble to death and, no matter how much players whinge about it, I still feel the same: you just can’t beat that place as a Major Championship venue. Woods is not himself, but I love the fact that he still has the ability to put the spark and electricity back into a tournament and its galleries with one round. Anyway, this one was all about McDowell for me. He left himself enough breathing room to make a few mistakes on Sunday, and walked away the worthy winner.
Jeff – I think this year’s US Open was great. You can’t get a better venue than Pebble Beach, and having Tom Watson there made it that much more memorable. It was great to see him not only be there because of his history at Pebble/US Open, but because he deserved to be and played quite well, all things considered.
That 14th hole is insane and I’m up in the air if it’s fair or not. I’ve heard fom Tour players that they say while it’s unbelievably difficult, it’s also very fair. But maybe it’s those guys just not wanting to make waves! I also thought the little 7th hole added some excitement. Nowhere else in the world do you see a 100 yard par 3 give the best players in the world such a headache. It was great to see Graeme McDowell play well and hold off the big guns of Woods, Mickelson, and Els. He’s been knocking on the door for a while and it was nice to see him break through. Hopefully the 2010 Open will be remembered more for his steady play under pressure, than Dustin Johnson’s complete meltdown.
Tony – I thought it was a good open but not a great one. I loved how the USGA had Pebble prepared, with the long grass around the bunkers and the difficulty level of the greens. The cool thing about this course’s length and setup was that it brought the whole field into play, not just the bombers. That being said a bomber (Dustin Johnson) was on the brink of winning the thing until he realized he was leading the US OPEN on Sunday and completely lost it. When he hit that shank/flop on #2 I knew he was toast. I almost fell out of my chair.
Regarding 14, I’m of the belief that it was fine. If all the players play the same hole in the same conditions that is fair. I personally like US OPEN golf and seeing the big boys struggle. It makes me feel like they’re actually human. I wonder how much easier 14 would have been if the players could have played it with square grooved wedges?
What I thought was most notable on Sunday was that everyone at the top of the leaderboard, including McDowell, gagged. Nobody within reach made a run at it. It was just that McDowell gagged the least and calmed himself down enough to pull it off on the back nine. Tiger, Phil and especially Ernie all had good chances to win the thing but they all made mistakes. Both Tiger and Phil had terrible putting days. It sounds like a broken record, but Tiger’s putting was “not Tiger like.” Phil has been hot and cold in US OPEN with his putting historically so it wasn’t as big of a surprise to me.
The one person who didn’t gag and was very impressive was Gregory Havret, who shot the best final round of those on page one of the leaderboard. His swing looked as good as any I’ve seen. I wonder if that was a flash in the pan or if we’ll see more of him.
I love Tom Watson. I followed Tom around on Tuesday at this year’s Masters practice round. He was so cool and nice. I think it is amazing that he made the cut in a US OPEN at that age and it shows how much of a stud he is.
WHERE DO YOU THINK TIGER’S GAME IS AT THIS TIME, AND HOW DO YOU THINK HE’LL DO THIS YEAR AND IN THE FUTURE?
I’m happy to announce my participation in The Hack Shack. The Hack Shack is a group of golf fans and golf bloggers who like to comment on the current events in the world of golf. Our first discussion is going to be this week in advance of the AT&T National, and our next conversation is in two weeks before The Open. On the electronic internets we can be located as follows:
Tony‘s blog is https://www.hookedongolfblog.com.
He also runs http://www.thegolfspace.com.
His twitter account is http://www.twitter.com/thegolfspace.
Jack‘s blog is http://dudewheresmypar.tumblr.com.
His twitter account is http://www.twitter.com/dudewheresmypar.
Jeff‘s blog is http://www.goodwalkgolf.com.
His twitter account is http://www.twitter.com/jpalopoli.
Stefan‘s blog is http://golferinkilt.blogspot.com.
And his twitter account is http://www.twitter.com/golferinkilt.
In order to let you better get to know us, we have put together a few introductory questions about us and our game.