Tiger Woods has struggled at the TPC Sawgrass, home of the PLAYERS Championship. That is not secret to anyone who really digs deep and pulls up the scorecards from recent years, even pre-scandal.
His pre-scandal his domination was so profound, his lack of success at TPC Sawgrass was really hidden to the average golf fan.
At THE PLAYERS his record is as follows: 14 starts and just one victory, two withdraws and four top-10 finishes.
Struggles from years gone by at particular courses here or there, including THE PLAYERS, pale in comparison to the overarching struggle with his game at this point in his career.
Last week at a golf course with a little less fame-Quail Hollow at the Wells Fargo Championship-he missed a cut for just the eighth time in his professional career.
So what’s Tiger got to do to contend for THE PLAYERS, (unofficially the fifth major in Pro Golf).
Basically he’s got to feel it. If he’s on we should know soon enough, and if he’s not we’ll know it also( watchout for the flying clubs.)
“I’ve done really well or I haven’t (at this course),” Woods said this week in preparation for THE PLAYERS Championship.
“The years‑‑ either I’ve been right there in contention with a chance or I haven’t,” he added. “I think that’s the nature of this golf course, though. When you’re off on this golf course you’re going to get penalized pretty severely, but when you’re on, this golf course seems pretty easy because all the balls tend to funnel towards flags. ”
Phil Mickelson, like Tiger has not excelled at THE PLAYERS. He does have one win, the 2007 tournament, but only has two other top 10 finishes (3rd in ’04 and and 8th in ’98) in 18 total career starts.
Combined Mickelson and Woods have 32 career starts, with just a victory a piece and a combined six Top 10s. Tiger has two withdraws in the last two years.
This year Mickleson is not having a bad season, he’s ranked 4th in FedEx Cup points and has a win at Pebble Beach and a T3 at The Masters. Last week he finished T26 at Quail Hallow. The bar has been set at winning or else for Mickelson who is freshly minted as a the newest inductee to the World Golf Hall of Fame this week.
Mickleson will want to to take advantage of the Par 5s this week, but that’s easier said than done. No doubt he has wanted to do that every year.
“The course really hasn’t changed much over the years,” Mickleson said. ”My strategy hasn’t really changed, and even though I have won, my record is not what I would have liked. I believe I can perform a little bit better on this golf course than I have.”
It’s fun to watch Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson, young guys, who will someday possibly be legends of the game, but for my money it’s all about the two giant legends that are currently still in the prime of their careers with majors (unofficial majors included) left to win.
That’s why I’ll be pulling for Tiger and Phil this weekend at THE PLAYERS.
THE PLAYER Championship tees off Thursday morning from the TPC Sawgrass. Be sure to compare tickets at Seathound.com to find the very best passes for this week’s event.