x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Woods no longer the same Tiger when a major title is in sight

The fact that the world No 1 needed smelling salts on a grand-slam weekend hardly rates as an upset, writes Steve Elling.

Tiger Woods does not seem to have the same killer instinct when it comes to final rounds at major championships.
Tiger Woods does not seem to have the same killer instinct when it comes to final rounds at major championships.

As Tiger Woods derailed on the weekend at yet another major-championship venue, shock and disbelief were the general feelings.

Heretical as is sounds, only the second half of that sentence is a true curiosity.

For those paying attention, the fact that Woods – once the game's greatest bloodhound when a title was within sniffing range – needed smelling salts on a grand-slam weekend hardly rates as an upset.

Woods has not won a major since 2008, though not for a lack of opportunity. Time after time, he has been in position, especially in 2012/13, but has bombed on the same stage where he used to be the scene-stealer.

Whys and wherefores aside, the data is revealing. For example, over seven seasons starting in 2005, Woods played the weekends at the majors in a cumulative 60-under par.

In his past seven majors, he is a combined 23 over on Saturday and Sunday.

At Muirfield, he was one stroke off the lead after 36 holes, then played the weekend in four over, finishing in a tie for sixth.

The player who was once impervious to pressure has not posted a round in the 60s in a weekend round at a major in 14 tries.

Going back further, he has one sub-70 score in 21 weekend rounds.

In other words, regardless of his form on Thursday and Friday, this is the new norm.

The only surprise is that anybody is still astonished by the result.

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