It looked as if that would be the case when Woods two-putted the 13th hole for an eight-shot lead Monday. What happened the rest of the way was awkward. Woods hit two tee shots that barely traveled more than 200 yards _ one that was pulled into the trees and caromed into a patch of ice plant (double bogey), another that was a chunk pop-up and left him a 4-iron to the green and 50 yards behind two guys he had been blasting by all day.
“This one is going to irk him,” Nick Faldo said, adding that Woods still had demons with his driving. Maybe so. The better measure of his driving is when the shots actually mean something. Woods looked more interested in getting off the golf course than winning by double digits.
Winning was never in doubt, however, and that’s what should be remembered.
The real measure, of course, is the majors.
Woods winning at Torrey Pines, with a red shirt under a black sweater vest, was a reminder of how long it had been since his last major title. It was five years ago that he won on a Monday afternoon at Torrey Pines to capture the U.S. Open in a playoff, his 14th major.
Regular tour wins are still meaningful. If nothing else, they build confidence.
Then again, Woods won in his final start before the Masters and U.S. Open last year and faded badly on the weekend. What makes him excited about the year is his short game, for he says that’s what let him down at the last three majors in 2012. He was tied for the lead going into the weekend at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship and failed to finish in the top 10. He was four shots behind going into Saturday at the British Open and didn’t break par on the weekend.
“It’s getting up-and-down at major championships,” Woods said. “You’re not going to hit the ball great every day. They’re the most difficult situations and most difficult setups that we face. You’re going to have to get up and down. You’re going to have to save. You’re going to have to make a 10-footer for par. You’re going to have to make a tough up-and-down, and I wasn’t doing that. Consequently, those 74s and 75s should have been 70s or 71s. And that’s how you win those tournaments.”
That’s what he will find out later this year.
In the meantime, he is still working to get himself back until everyone else is behind him.
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