Frustrated Woods simply can't "let it go"
Tiger Woods offered a tantalising glimpse of his old self at the PGA Championship on Thursday before the...
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Tiger Woods offered a tantalising glimpse of his old self at the PGA
Championship on Thursday before the erratic play that has dogged him through
the past, winless, two years returned to wreck his opening round.
"I'm not down, I'm angry right
now," said a dejected Woods, a four-times PGA Championship winner who
found himself down at the foot of the leaderboard alongside club professionals
Mike Northern and Faber Jamerson.
After five holes, on the more challenging
back nine, Woods was three under par and tied for the lead before his game
unravelled to leave him with his worst first round score in a major -- a
Birdies in glorious sunshine, warm applause
from the gallery and Woods in contention for a major - for an hour it felt to
those watching that the 35-year-old, whose career has been derailed by personal
troubles and injuries, really was back.
Now the challenge for Woods becomes simply to
play well enough on Friday to survive the cut and avoid another low point in a
deeply disappointing season.
Woods, who had looked tidy and in control in
ideal conditions, said that his old swing problems returned as he consciously
loosened up following three birdies in the first five holes.
"Every shot I hit up to that point were
all mechanical thoughts, I put the club in a certain position, and I was doing
that and I said, 'You know what, I'm feeling good. Let's just let it go.' And
it cost me the whole round," he said.
Before his three-month absence to resolve leg
injuries, Woods, who has not won a tournament since 2009, had been working on a
new swing with coach Sean Foley.
Dealing with the mechanical process
andre-adjusting so many parts of a game that once seemed to come so naturally
to him clearly means that the 14-times major winner can no longer just let the
Saying he had many elements of his technique
to work on before returning for his second round, Woods was clearly frustrated
that he could not lift his game for a major.
"I can't say just one (thing to work
on), because it's a lot of different things," he said. "What causes
the ball to shape more? It's a bunch of things. So it's just unfortunately I'm
not at a point that I can let it go.
"I've been in this process before: I've
been through it with (coach) Butch Harmon; I've been through it with Hank
(Haney); and now I've been through it with Sean.
"I just thought, this is a major, and
you peak for these events. And once you get to a major championship, you just
let it fly, let it go. And I did and it cost me."
The downfall began with a double-bogey on
the tricky, long par-three 15th where Woods struck his tee shot into the water
hazard to the right of the green.
Another double came on the 18th and then the
front nine, Woods' back nine, was a long and painful series of mistakes with
four bogeys, a double-bogey on the sixth and just one birdie on the fifth to
ease the pain.
It was a sorry end to his round but it was
even sadder to hear Woods describe how he simply cannot do what he once
produced to order.
"I'm in a major championship, it's time
to score, time to play and time to let it go," he said. "And it cost
me the round."