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Rob Lee's Blog : The DNA Melting Pot

Imagine Golf Club's Rob Lee gives his unique insight on Tiger's comeback

Posted Apr 02, 2009 by Rob Lee

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If ever there was a good thing in betting terms, then backing Tiger Woods at the Masters at the pathetic odds of around 2/1 must be the steal of the year even if he is up against the best golfers around.  Let's examine Tiger's last four tournaments.  Back in June, he won the US open while dragging his left leg around Torrey Pines for ironically 91 holes (like he needed an 18 hole playoff plus one more against the plucky Rocco Mediate) in what was one of the greatest Majors I've ever seen.  Then Tiger said “see ya” to the golfing world  and let the rest scrap for the next two Majors while he had major surgery again to his left knee and I'm sure quietly prayed that things would turn out ok.  Even Tiger, who has the same doubts that plague the human condition as the rest of us, could not have envisaged the light speed with which he has returned to match fitness.  On his comeback event he went 2 rounds at the Accenture Matchplay.  Ok, nothing startling there but there were a couple of pointers of things to come; he went birdie, conceded a 6 footer eagle in his first two holes after about 250 days away then when he lost to Tim Clarke, he hit it unplayable at the 15th, and then walked on the new knee all the way back to the tee and drove the green in an attempt to make a par and keep the match going.  He missed and went out but the signs were good.  Onward to the CA Championship, the first Strokeplay since Summer 2008 and Tiger top tenned without holing a putt.  Then onto the Tavistock Cup at Isleworth where 2 rounds of superb driving courtesy of a slightly smoother action seemed to indicate that things were coming together.  What to work on now?  Answer:  the putter.

                    So, onto the fourth of our little Tiger mini series - the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.  Tiger started the last round 5 behind Sean O'Hair on a golf course that had some horrible rough and, by the way, in an attempt to toughen it even more, half of Miami Beach had been dumped in the bunkers which meant even long irons going in on the fly were plugging.  I wonder if Arnold in his heyday would have enjoyed that.  I doubt it.  Back to Tiger, his game plan simple: To mow down O'Hair as quick as possible.  Well, he didn't manage that until there were a few holes left and what a few holes they are at Bay Hill!  At 16 Tiger found the rough on the right and had to chip out after O'Hair had watered his approach, but the pitch that Tiger hit to three feet was perfection.  O'Hair made a good bogey, Tiger par; he was 1 in front with two to play.  Tiger then makes bogey to O'Hair’s par; all even down the last.  Sean played the last well with a steady par but steady will never do against the mental colossus that is Tiger Woods.  Even when he was about to putt, some muppet shouted “playoff”, Tiger just regrouped and started again.  With fading light and a world watching, thinking “you know the old Tiger Woods would have holed that”, the pressure was on and the master duly obliged for his 2nd win in 4 events, all be it over a period of 9 months.  Now is it possible that all the platitudes during his down time, “Tiger's going to be better than ever”, etc., etc., etc. could actually be true.  I actually now am coming round to the fact that we may not have seen the best of Tiger Woods.  How is that possible?  A man who has had all 4 major trophies on his mantle piece at the same time but not in the calendar year starting with the Masters. That brings me nicely to next week and odds of 2/1 or there abouts.  Ordinarily no mug is going to have the bet but the bookies are scared because they know that Tiger is the best golfer that's ever lived and I don't mean just, I mean by miles.  You have to take Big Jack, Arnie, Bantam Ben, Slammin' Sam, Bob Jones, Gritty Gary, Gary Kasparov And Charles Atlas, and ,put them in the DNA melting pot to produce something like Tiger, but you still would be missing something and that is a sprinkle of Tinkerbell's magic dust because the man is magic.

                       You might think I'm getting carried away and you are right, but I don't care!  Let me have my fun and for me fun is watching Woods right now as we approach Major number 1 for 2009.
Bring it on!

- Robert Lee


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