Regardless of whether you’re thinking about your golf game or Tiger Woods’ golf game – it’s all about realistic expectations. So since Tiger is a hot topic right now – let’s talk some Tiger.
There’s so much babble out there about “What’s wrong with Tiger? Why didn’t he win at the Masters or the Players Championship? What’s wrong with his golf swing? Why isn’t he making any putts?”
I gather that all this gibberish is being tossed at you because he’s “only” won one paltry tournament this year. Yet, let’s put things in perspective – there’s not a Player in the world that wouldn’t take his golf game or golf swing or putting stroke right this second. Right now he’s the most consistent Golfer in the world – his results this year prove it: Tiger has played in 5 PGA stroke play tournaments in 2009 – placing in the Top 10 each event. His worst finish was his first stroke play tournament back after surgery on his left leg, where he came in 9th place. And on top of that – he’s a collective 38 under par for those 5 tournaments – which I believe means he’s averaging better than 7 under par for each tournament.
Have I mentioned he’s averaging 69.7 shots per round playing some tough golf courses?
I feel obligated as a Golf Instructor to show how unrealistic (and some might say uninformed or even Monkey) many (certainly not all) in the Golf Media are as it pertains to the sport they’re reporting on. So let’s take a look at Tiger’s results compared to the other top Players on the PGA Tour.
Results from 5 excellent Golfers and 1 incredible Golfer in 2009:
Phil Mickelson – 9 tournaments: 4 times in the top 10; failed to make the cut in 2 tournaments, tied for 55th place in 2 tournaments – meaning he finished worse than 50th place, 44% of the time
Anthony Kim – 8 tournaments: 1 time in the top 10; failed to make the cut in two tournaments, actually in the Top 25 only once in 2009.
Sean O’Hair – 10 tournaments: 6 times in the top 10; failed to make the cut in 2 tournaments
Kenny Perry – 11 tournaments: 6 times in the top 10 – 54% of the time; tied for 59th in 2 tournaments
Padraig Harrington – 9 Tournaments: 0 times in the top 10; in top 20 “only” 2 times, failed to make cut 3 times in 9 tournaments
Tiger Woods – 5 tournaments: 5 times in the top 10 – 100% of the time; worst finish was 9th
Hmmmm, kind of puts Tiger’s “troubles” in perspective doesn’t it? Let’s see – the 2nd best Golfer in the world (Mickelson) has less top 10’s in almost twice as many tournaments as Tiger, has been cut twice before the weekend, in addition to coming in 55th place two times – yet Tiger isn’t playing well? Well, if Tiger isn’t playing like the #1 Player in the World – who is? Maybe the expectations we place on Tiger are out-of-whack?
Or how about the 3rd ranked Player in the world – Sergio Garcia? 6 tournaments and his best finish is 13th. Or the 4th ranked Golfer, Geoff Ogilvy? 9 tournaments with “only” two top 10 finishes. Wow, Number One, Two, Three and Four really stink! These guys are terrible! Or maybe it just shows how good Tiger is. Maybe it shows that what’s truly brilliant about Tiger is not the number of times he wins – but his consistency throughout his game. So that every week, even when he’s not playing his absolute best – he’s as good or almost as good as others when they’re at their … absolute best.
Again – this isn’t to point out the inconsistency of these other Golfers, they’re phenomenal Golfers – this is to show that there isn’t anything wrong with Tiger. It’s just to show how awesome a Golfer he is. We’re talking about the best Golfers in the world besides Tiger – yet look at how far ahead he is compared to them – even coming off a major surgery. This isn’t a put down to Mickelson or Garcia – these guys are phenomenal Golfers – it’s to point out the ‘ridiculousness’ of many individuals (certainly not all) in the Golf Media.
Or to put even more perspective towards how many get it so wrong: besides 2008 and 2009, Tiger has never finished in the Top 10 of each of his first 5 tournaments in any year! And that includes the year 2000 when he won 9 PGA tournaments and came in the Top 3 in 14 of his 20 tournaments!
Do you realize that Tiger’s 8th place finish this year was his best finish at TPC at Sawgrass since way back in 2001 when he was the winner? Yet, he’s not playing well according to the experts. Who hired these people?
Let’s get more in depth when talking about Tiger’s “woes”. Because as every “expert” knows – Tiger’s troubles are starting on the tee with his Driver. However, Mr. and Mrs. Monkey – in 2008 (just an incredible golf year for Tiger before his leg incident) – Tiger hit 57% of his fairways – in 2009 he has hit 56% of his fairways.
So that 1% difference is what’s starting all the talk from the “experts” about what Tiger is doing wrong in his golf swing? Yet, when he was 1% better – they were showing you all the great things he was doing in his golf swing. Is there that much of a difference in that 1% from when he went from the best golf swing in the world to having so many troubles with his swing?
Well ….. considering that Tiger had 280 possible fairways he could hit in 2008 and that he’s had the same amount this year – it’s a good place to start to show you how Monkey many (certainly not all) in the Golf Media are when talking about what’s wrong with Tiger’s swing. Why do I say this? Because in 2008 Tiger hit 162 out of 280 fairways. This year Tiger has hit “only” 159 out of 280.
So all these supposed “gurus” that are talking about what Tiger needs to fix in his Driver are talking about this because Tiger has hit 3 less fairways out of 280 attempts than he did in 2008 when he was undisputedly – The Man.
Who are these “experts” and how did they get appointed “experts”?
I need to get out of the golf business – it’s getting too frustrating having these “experts” tell the golf world what’s wrong and having everyone believe them just because they’re on television! Does anyone want to buy a golf company that had record revenue in 2008 and record profit so far in 2009? I need to get as far away from this lunacy of making people golf experts for no reason at all except that they can talk a lot. Maybe I could get into another industry that has fewer “experts”than golf has – something like politics or the stock market.
How about Tiger’s Driving Distance? I mean because the “experts” say he’s not driving the golf ball that great – I guess we should talk about Driving Distance – shouldn’t we? In 2008 he averaged 294 yards a drive. This year he’s “much” shorter at “only” 292 yards.
“In my opinion, it has to be his putting that’s killing him. Tiger is just not making the crucial putts. Where last year he made everything – this year he’s not really making that many putts. Hey, who took my banana?”
In 2008, Tiger averaged 1.7 putts per Green in Regulation. In 2009, Tiger is averaging an “atrocious” 1.7 putts per Green in Regulation.
In 2008, Tiger made a birdie or eagle an incredible 88 times in 360 holes (24% of the time). In 2009, he’s made a birdie or eagle 84 times in 360 holes (a pathetic 23% of the time).
In 2008, Tiger averaged getting up’n’down from the sand for par 48% of the time. In 2009, he’s averaged 54%.
So is Tiger’s game really that terrible? Or have the Monkeys set unrealistic expectations on Tigers game – just like they may have done to their own games?
Yet, if someone is telling you all the things Tiger is doing wrong in his golf swing when compared to the level he played in 2008 – a level that may never have been matched by any Golfer that ever lived – the person isn’t just a Monkey, that person is a(n) …… well, I’m not even going to say it.
Why was this Golf Improvement Weekly written? Does Tiger need me to ‘watch his back’? Or course not. Am I such a rabid Tiger fan that’s bordering on stalker that I feel a need to defend my hero? “Mr. Tiger, ahhhh, yeah, um – you know I’m your biggest fan. I have posters of you all around my house. I named my cat after you – Little Tiger”
This Golf Improvement Weekly was written for one reason – to let you know that the Monkeys are everywhere. This doesn’t just apply to speaking about the PGA Tour or LPGA Tour – the same can be said about the so called “gurus” you see on TV speaking about the golf swing. They can be just as far off with the Theories and Assumptions they’re giving you about the golf swing – as they are with the “What’s Wrong With Tiger” schtick they’re throwing at you this week. And will continue to throw at you until he wins again – when they’ll tell you all the improvements he made in his golf swing and putting stroke.
The Monkey watches a show devoted to asking what’s wrong with Tiger as the “experts” breakdown his golf swing and show you what he’s doing wrong. Then after you finish your bowl of ice cream – you stand-up to try to implement the same changes into your golf swing
The Player ignores many (certainly not all) in the media and just plays golf
Go ahead, Be a Player!
Marc Solomon – Your Instructor For Life