At the end of the 2013 season, Tiger Woods won the PGA Tour Player of the Year award. He won an impressive five times and regained his place at the top of the world rankings.
Fast forward to 2015 and it appears that Woods’ career is on the decline.
Injuries have restricted him to just nine appearances since the start of the 2013-2014 wrap-around season, where he has only placed in the top-25 once. He has fallen to 62nd in the world rankings, his lowest ranking since October 1996, just two months after he turned professional.
So where has it all gone wrong for the 14-time major champion?
In 2010, Woods hired Sean Foley as his swing coach, and although he won eight times during their partnership, the changes made by Foley had an extremely negative impact on Woods’ game.
Although Woods was never the straightest hitter off the tee; his short game and putting were second-to-none. He was a magician and the putter was his magic wand. When he was at his best, words could not describe how good Tiger truly was. He was unstoppable, mesmerizing, a genius, a wizard and in many people’s eyes, the greatest to ever play the game.
He has 14 major championship wins, as well as 79 victories on the PGA Tour and he was the first billionaire sportsman ever, his record truly speaks for itself. No modern player, with the possible exception of Rory McIlroy will come close to displaying that level of dominance ever again.
However, it appears that in Woods’ pursuit to create the perfect swing under Foley’s guidance; he has lost everything that made him the most feared golfer on the planet.
That once magical short game has disappeared, and his putter has lost its magical touch.
Woods parted ways with Foley in August 2014 and began working with Chris Como, a biomechanics expert. The partnership change resulted in Woods altering his swing, in order to protect his surgically-repaired back and knees.
Woods rediscovered his distance off the tee, but lost his short game expertise in the process.
“Drive for show, putt for dough” as the saying goes.
With the way things are going at the moment, Tiger is not making much dough. He shot a career-worst round of 82 at the Phoenix Open, which saw him finish in joint-last place of the 133 man field. He then withdrew from the Farmers’ Insurance Open, after his back injury once again flared up. He is now taking yet another break from golf and he says he will return when the time is right.
You have to wonder though will there ever be a right time for Woods to return?
There is no doubt that Tiger Woods remains a marquee name in the world of golf, but no one wants to see him struggle; he has done too much for the sport for that to happen.
At 39 years of age, time is running out for Woods to catch Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 Major Championships, and his current form suggests that he is incapable of winning his fifteenth, let alone four more.
The sad reality is that we will probably never see the Tiger Woods of old tearing golf courses to shreds, and making it look so easy at the same time.
We all have to ask ourselves, has Tiger lost his teeth? The answer sadly, appears to be yes.
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