Jack Nicklaus recently echoed the thoughts of the rest of the world regarding the Tiger Woods situation: “the biggest puzzle to me that I know”. Only those within Tiger’s inner circle really know what’s going on but the people in that circle don’t talk. When they do, it’s to put either a positive spin on everything when there is clearly something wrong (Notah Begay), or they reveal a few secrets before they are fired (Butch Harmon and Hank Haney)
We asked The Wolf – William Hill Australia’s resident Tipster what he thought of the chances of Tiger making a return to greatness and he responded by wandering off for a sandwich. I think this says a lot about what the Wolf expects from Tiger in 2017 and beyond. It seems the only predictions coming from this top rated bookmaker are covered in mayonnaise and sesame seeds.
Since the fall, Tiger’s progress has been a dance of one step forward then two steps back. Jasper Parnevik (his neighbor in Jupiter, Florida) had us all excited for the 2017 season when he gushed: “his trajectory and ball flight are like the Tiger we knew 15 years ago”. It was Parnevik was had introduced Tiger to the Parnevik’s then-nanny Elin Nordegren who later became Tiger’s wife. Jasper’s criticism of Tiger following the infidelities in 2009 was scathing but he must have forgiven the former world number 1 enough to play 9 holes with him in Jupiter.
Tiger came back and put up a good showing back in December at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, making the most birdies out of all the players in the field. It was only a few costly double bogeys that stopped him being in contention on Sunday. We all thought maybe he was back. Then he missed the cut at Torrey Pines in January. After that he hobbled for 18 holes in Dubai and withdrew before the start of round 2.
We are about as confident as the Golden Bear on the matter but here are our 2017 predictions for Tiger Woods:
He won’t tee it up in the US Masters, citing a need to “rest and get healthy again.”
For the rest of the year, if he’s healthy he’ll only play a few tournaments. Those will be small tournaments against weaker fields rather than the majors and the World Golf Championships.
In the tournaments he does play, he’ll shoot scores between 70-75. Either he’ll drive well and putt poorly or his driving will be all over the place but he’ll save a score with his short game.
His schedule will start to resemble Ben Hogan’s after the 1949 car crash that nearly killed the Texan. In defining season of Hogan’s golfing career, he only played 6 tournaments: the US Masters, the US Open, the British Open, the Pan American Open and the Greenbrier Pro-Am, winning 5 of them. The only difference between 1953 and 2017 is that Tiger won’t play in any of the majors and whereas Hogan won five tournaments, Tiger won’t win any.
With no use betting on Tiger to win a major and it being a long shot to bet on him winning a regular PGA Tour event, the smart money will be on whether he makes the cut or not – or even finishes 18 holes.
Without a hope of making the team, Tiger will give a 100% in his role as vice-captain in the Presidents Cup – getting further training for the day when he captains the U.S. Ryder Cup Team.
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