So I just got finished with watching all four days of the U.S. Open at Olympic this past weekend. Seriously though, I watch an unhealthy amount of this (north of 20 hours I’d guess). The first thing I noticed on Thursday was how unbelievable Tiger Woods came out of the gate. This was supposedly one of the hardest courses in the world and Tiger was just making it his bitch. I’m not lying to you when I tell you that this was the best I’ve seen him play since Torrey Pines in 2008 when he won the U.S. Open on a torn ACL. Everyone was pulling out there drivers and hitting them all over the woods and into the rough, which looked horrific by the way. Not Tiger. He was completely fine with laying up and tossing an iron shot or fairway wood right in the middle of the fairway. He was hitting greens and mixed in a few birdies with all of the pars he was racking up. After the first round his playing partners (Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson) combined to shoot a +15. Tiger was -1.
Then on Friday it was the same thing. His ball striking was second to none and the commentators were talking about starting to etch his name on trophy now. I don’t blame them for looking through rounds three and four. When Tiger’s leading after two rounds in a major, you don’t worry about if he’s going to win, but by how much.
So he’s sitting at -1 on Saturday and playing in the final group. I’m waiting for a historic performance where he just explodes up to like -7 or -8 and the next best is at +4. He’s done it before and I wanted to see it again; it’s good television. I don’t know what happened to the man. No one does. We’ve never seen Tiger falter when he’s on top in any major. He went on to rack up six bogeys en route to shooting a 75. I saw more of the same on Sunday. He was +6 in the first six holes. Just a complete bombshell of a weekend for one of the greatest athletes of my generation.
So this begs the question, have we seen the last of Tiger as a dominant figure in golf? It’s been over four years since he’s won a major; the longest drought of his career. He always brings his game to a different level when he’s in the lead and he stumbled this past weekend when given this situation. But there have been glimpses of the old Tiger. He played unbelievable golf on Thursday and Friday, so that’s a good sign. But if he can’t play a consistent 72 hole weekend then I think we’ve seen the last of Tiger dominating the sport of golf. He’ll still win tournaments and could get back up to that number one spot, but it’s not like it used to be. Unfortunately, Tiger has fallen back to earth.