Thought for the Day:
The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese
Good to see that fist pump again
Whatever you may think about Tiger Woods, unless you’re a complete sadist, it was surely good to see him win again at the weekend. After grabbing the halfway lead it looked as if everything was back to normal but of course, this Tiger is a very different animal to the magnificent golfing machine we admired between 1997 and 2009. So when he had a third round 73 in the Chevron Challenge to fall back into the pack I feared the worst but a last day 69 was just good enough – more impressively, he birdied the last two holes, from 15 and six feet respectively – to snatch the title from his playing partner Zach Johnson.
The shame is that Tiger is not now scheduled to play again until next month but at least he’ll have something to smile about over Christmas.
Drama once more
Just as the FedEx Playoffs on the US Tour consistently underwhelm, the Dubai World Championship seems always to provide an exciting finale to the European Tour season. By winning the UBS Hong Kong Open, young scamp Rory McIlroy has put just a little bit of pressure onto Luke Donald, who for some months has apparently been a shoo-in to top the Race to Dubai money-list. Should he manage to hang on and clinch that title, Donald would be the first player ever to top the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic in the same season, which would be an astonishing achievement. And he’s still favourite to do that but if Rory should win in Dubai, and Luke finish outside the top-eight, then the Englishman would be tripped at the last hurdle.
The long and short of it
During a trip to Lisbon last week I played, among others, a course called Penha Longa which, because it has many uphill approach shots, reminded me once again of a phenomenon I have observed many times before, in myself and other handicap golfers. And this is, we almost always leave our approach shots short and very rarely go through the green. It is as if we know that beyond the putting surface lurks all manner of danger; wild beasties perhaps, or half-naked sirens waiting to lure us to a sticky end. The reality, of course, is that the back of the green is often a sight more friendly than the front. Water hazards, bunkers and the like are usually between you and the flagstick, so a much safer option is to take more club and guarantee reaching the putting surface, or even going beyond it.
One explanation for us coming up short is simply that we’re not consistent and, for whatever reason, we don’t make the clean strike that is the mark of a good shot. But what I am talking about is the occasions when we do hit the ball as intended, and it still doesn’t reach.
Think about standing in the fairway, knowing your ball is about to come up short and I would guess that your most over-riding emotion will be disappointment. But now imagine that you have hit the ball absolutely flush, and it’s clear that it will fly the green, what do you think your emotion is now? I would predict that it’s fear, and that you will hop from foot to foot telling your ball to ‘get down’ or ‘sit’. It’s fear of the unknown. You can see the problems short of the green, but through the putting surface you don’t know what awaits you.
Well, that’s my theory.
As of December 5, 2011, Tiger Woods is ranked 22nd in the world
Quote of the week
The chief reaction among amateurs to poor putting, it seems to me, is exasperation, combined with a sort of vague hope that, by some kind of mini-miracle, it will all have gotten better by the next time they play.