Monday 5 December 2016

Rock-bottom Woods vows to stick with swing changes

William S Callahan

Published 08/06/2015 | 02:30

Tiger Woods prepares to catch his golf ball during his final round at the Memorial Tournament
Tiger Woods prepares to catch his golf ball during his final round at the Memorial Tournament

Tiger Woods fell to a new low in The Memorial Tournament of 2015 and that suggests his hopes of winning a tournament, never mind a Major, this year are in the 'Mission Impossible' category.

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Doggedly persevering with a swing change he has been working on with his latest coach Chris Como, and chronically under-golfed, Woods heads to the US Open at Chambers Bay from June 18-21 with his once-renowned confidence in his boots.

Playing in fine weather conditions on Thursday and Friday, he managed to make the cut by just one shot, and on Saturday came the nadir when he shot 85.

This is the man who has won 14 Major titles, and 79 PGA Tour events.

This is the man who set new trends for fitness, nutrition and diet among professional golfers.

This is the man who became such a hot property at the box office that he was largely instrumental in putting multi-millions of dollars in his own and fellow professionals' bank accounts thanks to lucrative TV deals.

And yet, there he was, bumbling and scrambling and shell-shocked as everything that could go wrong, did go wrong on Saturday. Golf can be humbling, but this took the 'h' out of humble and substituted 't' for tumble, which is what's happening Woods these days.

Off course, all we know is that his three-year romance with Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn ended recently, and that has to have an effect on his game.

Typical of Woods' fortunes these days, if anything the loss of the relationship has been detrimental.

Rory McIlroy went the other direction last year when he buried his feelings about the end of his engagement to Caroline Wozniacki on the golf course and enjoyed a great run of form.

Still, 85? This was comfortably the worst round of Tiger's career as a professional. Woods started yesterday day 27 shots behind overnight leader Justin Rose. The Englishman was on 15-under par; Tiger was on 12-over. To add to the sense of unreality about it all, Woods played alone yesterday, and was finished before Rose began his battle to remain on top by the end of the tournament.

Woods closed with a 74, two-over par, finishing double-bogey 7, birdie 2, bogey 5 and double-bogey 6. Credit to him, he faced the music and spoke about his feelings.

"This is a lonely sport. The manager is not going to come in and bring the righty or bring the lefty. You've just got to play through it," he said.

"And that's one of the hardest things about the game of golf, and it's also one of the best things about the game of golf.

Fruition

"When you're on, no one is going to slow you down. When you're off, no one is going to pick you up, either. It's one of those sports that's tough. Deal with it.

"For us, unfortunately, you have those days and they're five hours long."

He still maintains that the work he is doing with Como is nearing fruition, but how much time will it take?

It was a far more successful weekend for Swedish golf with David Lingmerth taking his maiden Tour title at the Memorial by beating Rose in a play-off.

Earlier in the day, home favourite Alex Noren won the Nordea Masters in Malmo for the second time. Noren began the season on a medical exemption after needing time off to heal tendinitis in both wrists last year.

A final-round 71 was enough for 12-under par and victory by four shots from last week's Irish Open winner, Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark.

Best of the Irish was Peter Lawrie on three-over after a closing 75. Michael Hoey (75) and Gareth Maybin (73) both finished on five-over.

American Daniel Im beat Gary Boyd of England in a play-off to take the Swiss Challenge at Lucerne after they finished on 11-under par.

Chris Selfridge, shot 72 to head the Irish challenge. He closed on six-under par overall and was joint 13th.

Des Smyth and Philip Walton ended the Acorn Jersey Open at La Moye in a group on joint fifth at three-under par, just four shots adrift of tournament winner, Peter Fowler of Australia.

Fowler carded 71 to beat Anders Forsbrand by a shot. Smyth and Walton each filed 72.

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