Proceed with Caution: Big Cat take too hot for twitter


#1

I am totally willing to get flamed out for this but at least I have the ProV1s to come out and say it…

Question: What has Tiger done under pressure in this return to make us all really believe?

My Examples:

  1. couldn’t close at Valspar after being in a great position
  2. hit tee ball OB at API when he had a chance to post and force Rory to play great coming in (Rory played great, but did so after Tiger blew up)
  3. Played an incredible Saturday at the Players before being put on Course Record watch and then proceeded to play rest of the round +1
  4. Played great to make it seem plausible Webb could be caught - was T2 and lead was down to 4 and he was 350+ in the fairway on his nemisis the 14th…made bogey and finished T11
  5. Water Balls in the Bear Trap did him in at Honda

Furthermore…
He has played mediocre on Thursdays and Fridays to barely make cuts and looks to be a bit more free on Saturdays when his tee time is on the AM side of Noon.
His best rounds have come when he is out of contention, and when he has played himself into contention he has found ways to fade away.

So while I am happy he is healthy enough to play a Tiger schedule, and would wager (at a legal US betting site) that he will eventually win again, the celebration of his performance in 2018 speaks more to a desire to have him back in our lives than to judge his actual performance.

This idea that the Players was promising as I have read some “Golf Writers” say: there were nearly a dozen guys with a Major to their name who were as impressive or even better over the weekend at TPC. I’m not buying the media blitz to juice ratings. I will not be blinded by the Red when everyone is in Pink.

He’s been an average tour pro at best since his return and like any average tour pro has a chance to win on any given week.

Now please proceed and flame this take. But I’m standing by the noted examples above. I am not a Tiger hater. I have admitted I expect to be wrong about him never winning a tour sanctioned tournament again (I think he will if he can play the next 5 years healthy). But I am looking a evidence and facts. I’m sorry if this does not fit the alt facts Golf Channel wants you to believe.


#2

Certainly he isn’t the same player under pressure that he has been in the past. It’s easy to forget he essentially took 2 years off of real tournament golf (16&17). It was always going to take some tournament reps to get back those feels while in contention in a tournament. But trust the process, he’s starting to hit his numbers he likes and seeing the traj he’s anticipating.

In non Cat speak, I think he’s going to win again, probably this year.


#3

@Randy can we cross post this to the Ryder Cup thread? This is a sizzling challenge to the “Tiger is a lock if he stays healthy” talk.


#4

Nevermind OP already did it


#5

LOVE this! would love to see an entire article In Tiger Speak (ITS)

The fixation on numbers, and traj, and glute activation, and speed…at the end of the day the only number that goes on a scorecard is the amount of strokes it took you to get the ball from the tee box into the hole.

(yes @2trickpony) i lifted this from my post in the Ryder Cup thread, but since I felt strongly about it opted to start a flame throwing contest here. Apologies in advance for the double up.


#6

Have to quibble with this part of the take. He’s averaging 69.988 a round, 11th best on tour. Tour average is 71.462. He’s performing well above average, indeed at an elite level.


#7

Great stat.
Got no answer to that other than limited sample size at courses he’s cherry picking to play (I’ll admit that even I’m stretching with that defense)
Do you have a breakdown of Thurs/Fri v Weekend. I do think he is struggling to get it going when the cut is looming. Seems to be a different player after he makes cut. I’ll give credit he’s grinding on cuts even if some will point to inside jobs by Steiny boys


#8

In addition to being 11th in scoring average, he’s 8th in total Strokes Gained. An average tour pro indeed…

His highest finish of the year was at a course he hadn’t played in over 20 years…

This entire take is an insult to the real hot takes out there.


#9

Agree with most of what’s above. Tiger’s obviously shown more promise thus far than he has in years. What keeps me from believing is not what I’ve seen recently. It’s the lingering question of, how long can he stay healthy? The back seems better, but who knows what else might ultimately ail him. He’s no J-Day, but the wear and tear over the years has to keep expectations tempered, especially as we get deeper into the grind.


#10

Don’t try to tear him down just because he’s Tiger. He was never invincible. If any other player was playing like Tiger, we would be talking about “the next big star”.


#11

I was agreeing as well up to this point. Tiger plays in a significant fewer amount of events, and to contend that often is something you rarely see. Chez Reavie did it at the start of the year in the west coast events and everyone kinda did a double take seeing him up there each week.

Not to make this a nine year story, but ever since Tiger won at Torrey ten years ago, his clutch game has not been great. The 2009 PGA speaks for itself, he had a short birdie putt to take the 09 Barclays to a playoff and it never scared the hole, the 2011 Masters was honestly his to win at one point and he blew it on the 15th and 16th, plus the 2012 US Open, 2012 and 2013 Opens were all within his reach as well. Not saying he’s completely lost his clutch gene, because things like the 2012 Memorial have still happened, but he’s certainly not invincible anymore.


#12

This has been said before, and is nearly an entirely different subject, but Tiger’s stretch of dominance has unfairly altered our perceptions of what “clutch” is and how success is defined. All those events are fine to bring up but because he hasn’t won a major, we are completely ignoring he’s won 14 times and had 9 top 10s in majors over the same stretch. So what you may call a period where “his clutch game has not been great”, he’s basically had a HOF career. That’s how out of control our expectations of him have become.

He doesn’t need get all the way back to his invincible self to be considered “back.” As golf fans, we just need to lower the bar a bit for him as he has set it to astronomical levels.


#13

This cannot be stated enough. He’s set the bar to a place nobody can realistically achieve. If they ever do, it’ll be a second coming.

If any other player did what? Show up, be healthy, and swing like he did before a fused back? Don’t get me wrong - that he’s back healthy and able to play like this is impressive from a physical standpoint. His game looks good, no argument. But his 2018 finishes and body of work alone are average tour player.

I’ll respect stats as a good counter to what the I put out there but unfortunately all the stats in the world don’t equal wins and more than that even closing strong in spots he’s had a chance.

Winning is hard but is there an argument that he hasn’t seemingly faded each Sunday coming in? Maybe he’s fatigued. It’s not a criticism in the sense what he’s done isn’t good it’s just not worth the googly eyes so many want to have over it. That was the most overhyped T11 I’ve seen - ever.

This is so misleading: yeah it looks good but he’s played less rounds than most and played his usual favorites + Valspar. Honda is par 70 and Valspar was 71. His toughest tests: Torrey, Riv and Augusta didn’t yield those results. I know Par is irrelevant but still.

His Par 5 scoring:T82
First round scoring: T88
Second rd scoring: 176
Third rd scoring: T7
Final rd scoring: T52
Birdie avg: T58

Those numbers are SO average.
As I said, he’s played his best in AM Saturday rounds. His pre-cut scoring avg is in the 150s.

I’ll be curious how the summer plays out and what he opts to play with no Bridgestone. Right now it looks like his Foundation event, Majors and Memorial.

It’s not his fault the expectations are sky high. He doesn’t move the needle he is the needle. But with that is coming a lot of puffery in terms of what he’s really done on the course in 2018 except stay healthy and show up (both of which I applaud)


#14

The margins here are so fine. He made the cut on the number at Torrey Pines, Quail Hollow, and TPC Sawgrass. Could’ve easily MC’d all three events and if he had, the narrative on his season would be vastly different right now.


#15

Ope! - but he didn’t MC.


#16

We could go back and forth all day, hand-picking stats to make our case, but I’d rather not do that.

If you want to focus on the small sample size to tear apart his Strokes Gained stats and scoring average, you’ll have to consider that same argument works against him in the FexEx Cup race. Yet with just 8 events played, 4th fewest of anyone in the top 125, he’s still managed to be 48th. Stenson is the only player ahead of him that has played less tournaments. You have to try pretty hard and cherry-pick his stats and results to make the case that what’s he’s done so far is not impressive or promising.

I’ll admit the sports media has overblown his comeback a bit (media overstating the reality, in 2018, no way!) but I don’t fault them for that because, as you said, he is the needle. And yes, you are right that a big part of the overall celebration, is his return to health (knocks on wood) and to our televisions. After his last couple years, I’d argue that is something worth celebrating.


#17

We’re really believing because even if he has been “average,” he’s STILL putting himself in good spots. He’s got five top 25s, two of those top 5s, with the only MC at Riv. I’m sure a ton of guys would love to have those results in 8 starts.

You’re right, he’s had some issues in early rounds and a few times closing, but that’s the razor thing margin between winning and T11 on the TOUR. Take out a few bad holes he’s had down the stretch and he may have a trophy already this season. THAT’s why we’re excited.


#18

Thank you, me neither! But I did feel a need to go round by round as part of my premise is he isn’t playing well when pressure is on and making cuts (as pointed out by @ProjectGemini07) is such a fine line and no doubt he feels that on Fridays.

This is my biggest gripe and while I know came in over the top with the take to begin with (admittedly by the tone of the OP) the way the Media has presented it and the casual fan talks about him, it only adds fuel to my need to highlight some of these things I am saying. We as a golf society cannot get lost in the sauce with whats fact and fiction.

100% I think I’ve been consistent in praising his comeback in terms of durability and health (I’ll add that the work being done to perform like this at his age and injury history is also impressive). More what I’m getting at is the idea @LJD is throwing out - “a few bad holes hes had down the stretch and he may have a trophy already this season”…that can be applied to so many guys in Majors and their careers. A few bad swings and so many one-hit wonders in the Majors would be celebrated in ways we don’t today. So then why do we celebrate ALMOSTs with Tigers. The irony here is that I don’t think he would even celebrate the ALMOSTs.


#19

Also should say the folks at the refuge have been very kind and polite in this debate. A real classy establishment that definitely has vibes - as a former great podcast would like to say. Thank you all for indulging me in a nice conversation


#20

I don’t think we’re necessarily “celebrating” the almost wins, at least I’m not. It’s just exciting that he’s already at that point after a couple years off.