When I practice the swing with my club without hitting the ball, I can use my left arm to swing beatifully. But when I really hit the ball, my right arm always takes over the swing to push the ball, I either slice it or out-side in to get a hook. People told me it is mental issue. I am trying so hard to correct it but always failed. Any clue?
Even someone like former U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy can acknowledge being a bit mesmerized by seeing Tiger Woods win tournament after tournament after tournament.
”It’s quite fun to watch,” Ogilvy said.
Sure, but it doesn’t compare to beating Woods – especially when the world’s No. 1 hasn’t lost in six months.
Ogilvy won the CA Championship on Monday, saving a round that seemed in peril with a chip-in for par at the 13th hole and going on to claim his second victory in a World Golf Championship event. And not only did Ogilvy take down Tiger, he did it at Doral, where Woods had won each of the past three years.
- CA Championship – Final Leaderboard
So much for that perfect-season talk. The streak is over.
”It was going to end at some point,” Ogilvy said. ”I’m very glad that I did it. It’s a nice place to do it, too, because he’s obviously owned this place for the last few years. He just had one of those weeks.”
A final round of 1-under 71 – with nothing but nine pars Monday – was enough for Ogilvy to finish at 17 under, one shot better than Retief Goosen, Jim Furyk and Vijay Singh, who all closed with 68s in the rain-delayed tournament. Woods was fifth at 15 under, losing for the first time in six PGA Tour starts and seven official ones worldwide, not counting his win at the Target World Challenge.
”As players, it’s nice to see somebody else lift a trophy for a change,” Goosen said.
Calgary’s Stephen Ames finished eight shots off the pace after closing with a 2-under 70. Mike Weir of Bright’s Grove, Ont., shot a 1-under 71 and was nine strokes behind.
With the win, Ogilvy joined select company – only Woods (15) and Darren Clarke (two) have more than one WGC title.
”People don’t really understand, you need to have something happen, a positive thing happen to you out there in order to win tournaments,” Woods said. ”I heard Geoff bladed one in the hole for par. That’s what you need to have happen. Those are the things that have happened to me, and things weren’t going that way this week.”
Indeed, Ogilvy got the biggest break at the most crucial time.
Woods started the morning five shots back with seven holes remaining and made his typical charge, closing within two strokes after making a four-footer at the 17th. He birdied the 12th to start his day, then hit his tee shot within a foot at the par-3 15th for a tap-in.
At that very moment, two holes behind, Ogilvy seemed in trouble.
He pulled his two-iron tee shot at the par-3 13th way left, and his chip from thick, dewy grass didn’t even reach the green – making bogey seem probable, until a most improbable shot followed.
Ogilvy’s second chip hopped twice, hit the pin and dropped straight in, giving the Australian a break he desperately needed. If it went past the cup, he surely could have been looking at double bogey – since the ball clearly would have kept rolling for a while.
”That was moving,” Ogilvy said. ”That’s why you have to hit it on line. Flag gets in the way.”
Around the same time that chip dropped in, Ogilvy’s nearest pursuers began falling off.
Singh was the first one to make a run at Ogilvy, getting within a stroke before back-to-back bogeys doomed his chances. Furyk got within one after making birdie at the 17th, then missed the fairway at the finishing hole. Adam Scott started the morning four shots back, then inexplicably missed a two-foot tap-in and lost all hope of making a run.
”Geoff played well,” Singh said. ”He hit a lot of great shots and putted nicely. Somebody had to win, somebody had to lose.”
For a change, Woods was one of those somebodies on the losing side.
It was Woods’ first defeat since Sept. 3, and his perfect start to 2008 begged the ridiculous-sounding question: Could he go unbeaten for an entire year?
”You want to always win every one you play in,” Woods said. ”So you’ve just got to get ready for the next one.”
His next official tournament: the Masters, where Woods’ annual Grand Slam quest will begin.
”I think it’s a great sign, what happened this week, to make that many mistakes and only be two back,” Woods said.
It has come to this: When Woods doesn’t win, it counts as stunning news.
He was less than an even-money favourite before the tournament began, and at least one British bookmaker had Woods at the preposterous odds of 1-to-3 after the second round – when he wasn’t even in the lead.
But since Woods’ surge of late was amazing even by his own standards, why would those oddsmakers expect anything less?
”The chitchat about ‘Is he going to win every golf tournament this year,’ that’s frustrating stuff to hear,” Ogilvy said.
Ogilvy won’t have to hear it anymore.
His last win was the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, the one best remembered by Phil Mickelson’s final-hole double-bogey collapse that handed Ogilvy the title.
There was some symmetry at Doral, where this week might go down as the week Tiger lost.
”I guess they stopped going in for him this week,” Ogilvy said. ”Yeah, it’s nice.”
Woods’ check for US$285,000 put him over the $80-million mark in official earnings. .. Woods was among several players who scurried out quickly to get to Orlando for the afternoon start to the Tavistock Cup, the annual match between pros from the Lake Nona and Isleworth clubs. ”Going to be a long day,” Woods said. .. Goosen’s finish was his best since tying for second at the Masters last year.
He won every major championship he played in 1953, and every official tournament he entered except for the Seminole Pro-Am Invitational, where he tied for second. Then again, Hogan only played six times that year because of battered legs from a bus accident.
Tiger Woods will play no more than 17 events on the PGA Tour this year, so a 2-0 start might be a little early for anyone to get excited.
Even so, expectations were as high as the desert sun at noon when Woods left Arizona with yet another victory. It was his fourth in a row on tour since early September, all done in record fashion.
He set a 72-hole scoring record at Cog Hill outside Chicago and won by eight shots at the Tour Championship and the Buick Invitational, both record margins. On Sunday, he smoked Stewart Cink 8 and 7 in the Accenture Match Play Championship, the biggest blowout in the final in 10 years of a tournament that Woods considers the toughest to win this side of a major.
“I think this certainly is the best stretch I’ve ever played,” Woods said.
Strong words – downright scary – considering that Woods won nine times, including three straight majors, in 2000 and that he won six consecutive PGA Tour events at the end of 2006, a streak that reached seven until losing in the Match Play the following year.
Woods, who also won in Dubai earlier this month, has never before started a season with three straight victories, and it is hard not to speculate how long he can keep winning given his history at some of the tournaments coming up.
Next is the Arnold Palmer Invitational March 13-16 at Bay Hill, where Woods won four straight times from 2000 to 2003. The week after that is the CA Championship at Doral, where he has won the last three years.
Then the Masters April 10-13.
“He just morphs his game into the courses,” Cink said. “So I don’t think there’s a course that’s going to present him with a real obstacle as far as him not being a favourite.”
Woods did little to squash the notion of a perfect season when someone asked him if winning them all was within reason.
“That’s my intent. That’s why you play,” Woods said after collecting his 63rd career tour victory and his 15th title in the World Golf Championships. “If you don’t believe you can win an event, don’t show up.”
But it also is his intent to make every putt and hit every shot just how he wants. No one does that, of course. No one wins every tournament. Byron Nelson holds the record with 11 straight victories during a year in which he won 18 times in 30 events. That means he lost 12 times that year.
A perfect season in golf?
“I do find that laughable,” Hal Sutton said Monday. “Anybody who knows golf knows that ain’t going to happen. You can only own this game for a certain period of time. Even if your name is Tiger Woods, you don’t own it forever.”
Sutton was among those who beat Woods during a time when the world’s No. 1 player looked unbeatable, going head-to-head with him at The Players Championship in 2000 and winning by one shot.
He watched part of the championship match Sunday “until I got bored.”
“Tiger is definitely more dominating,” Sutton said.
Curtis Strange is among those who played in the prime years of Woods and Jack Nicklaus, and he said it is pointless to compare generations. But he also found speculation of a perfect season to be “a little over the top.”
“He is by far and away the best player,” Strange said. “We’ve never had a player this much better than the second-best player. He’s unbelievable, really. But he’s not unbeatable. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves just because he beat Stewart Cink 8 and 7.”
As usual, the best comparisons are to Woods himself.
Most consider his best golf to be from late 1999 through the 2001 Masters, when he won 16 of 32 times on the PGA Tour and four consecutive majors. Dating to the 2006 British Open, Woods has won 15 of his last 24 events, a 63 per cent clip.
“He just has this strong sense of belief in himself that he’s just never out of it,” Cink said. “He’s never going to mess up. He’s just always in control. He never loses his composure.”
The more he talked, the more Cink made Woods out to be a machine.
“I think maybe we ought to slice him open to see what’s inside there,” Cink said. “Maybe nuts and bolts.”
Not many thought Woods could ever produce better results than 2000, the benchmark of greatness in his era. Woods, however, has been saying all along that his plan was to get better. And with each victory, what seemed impossible is not unthinkable.
Woods knows he was fortunate to win the Match Play. In the first round, he rallied from three down with five holes to play against J.B. Holmes by winning four straight holes with three birdies and a 35-foot eagle. In the third round, Aaron Baddeley twice stood over putts inside 12 feet to win the match before Woods prevailed on the 20th hole.
“I played 117 holes this week,” Woods said. “I could have easily played 16 and then been home. That’s the fickleness of match play.”
And such is the fickle nature of golf.
Odds are, Woods won’t win them all.
But if he were to even win three of his next six on the PGA Tour, that would give him 18 wins in his last 30 starts, essentially matching Nelson’s golden year in 1945.
And even that might not be enough to satisfy him.
“You can always get better,” Woods said. “You can always keep improving.”