In depth on the Tiger Woods dilemma
Each week, golf writer Bob Harig will take your questions and answer a few select ones on ESPN.com. Below are this week's selections.
Once again, the Mailbag had a sampling of comments and questions regarding Tiger Woods.
First off let me say I am a Tiger Woods fan. When Tiger was with Hank Haney, other swing coaches and analysts on TV said openly that they did not like the direction Haney was taking Tiger with his swing. Now that Tiger is with Sean Foley, what is the general feeling among those same people about the direction Foley is taking Tiger with his swing?
-- Nolan Davis
Harig: There is no question that Haney's teachings of Tiger came under fire early last year and even at times during the 2009 season, when Woods won six times on the PGA Tour. But Haney stands by his record, and it's hard to blame him: six major titles and 31 PGA Tour wins starting with the 2005 season, as well as several overseas victories.
Woods' level of consistency was the best of his career. He was rarely out of the top 10. In fact, from 2005 through 2009, Woods was in the top 10 an amazing 56 of 75 tournaments. So all of a sudden there was something wrong with what Haney was teaching? Some have suggested that Woods won despite it, but if you look at the record ...
Now on to Foley. The experts seem to be waiting. It is probably too soon to have positive or negative feedback on what is occurring in Tiger's swing, given the relatively short period of time. And yet several continue to wonder why Woods ever left Butch Harmon in 2002 after he was coming off a different dominating run. Like everything about Tiger, this is scrutinized unlike any other player.
Looks like Tiger is skipping Honda (this) week. Do you see him adding any additional events this year?
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Harig: There had been some hope that he would add Honda, but there has been no indication that there will be any variation in Tiger's schedule. He is playing at Doral next week, and we can probably expect him at Bay Hill later this month.
Some will hold out hope that he adds the Transitions Championship the week after Doral, although the Tavistock Cup exhibition is the Monday-Tuesday of that week. Then it's the Masters. After that? Probably the same as in the past: Wells Fargo, Players, Memorial, U.S. Open, AT&T National, British Open, Bridgestone, PGA, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, BMW, Tour Championship.
The schedule is so compact at the end that it's tough to see any openings then. There is the possibility after the Masters, but where? It is unlikely he would play the Texas Open or Heritage, and New Orleans has been mentioned but it is the same week he's committed to a charity event for his foundation. After the Players, he could possibly play at the Byron Nelson the week prior to Memorial. There does not appear to be many opportunities beyond that.
Have you ever seen TW so lost as he was in that interview after the match play? He may have faced up to the fact that his game is leaving him -- which is why he was so visibly upset. His ridiculous complaining about the wind shows his utter lack of confidence over the ball. The question I'd like to ask him is what happened to the statement "I only play in tournaments if I think I can win." He knows he can't win with his current game ... yet no one calls him on this ... guess it would just be piling on now.
He now seems so mechanical, he may be going the way of [Nick] Faldo ... so caught up in swing mechanics he can't pull the trigger.
Lastly -- Tiger the greatest finisher the game has known and his final-round scoring average in majors is 71.96. His majors are usually won with stellar 2nd and 3rd rounds.--
Harig: Regarding the interview after he lost in match play to Thomas Bjorn, that to me was pure frustration and anger. He just blew the match after taking over the momentum by winning the 18th hole. Of course he was going to be mad. And yes, he is citing issues we've never heard before, such as his struggles in the wind. And yet, when Tiger tees off in a tournament, the guess here is that he fully believes he is going to win. That's his mindset. And it's hard to see him admitting otherwise.
As to your comments about his final-round major scoring average, you are correct: Tiger has won all of his majors from in front. He got a lead and kept his challengers at bay by not making mistakes in the final round.
Tiger doesn't usually tell us what is wrong with him. How much do you think his knee is at play in his not being able to find his game?
Harig: He is unlikely to tell us if his knee is bothering him. So far this year, he has said nothing about it. Could it be an issue? Perhaps. There have been times when it appears he's been limping. But it is really impossible to say that it has anything to do with his current swing issues.
Have a question? Send it to Bob Harig's mailbag at BobHESPN@gmail.com to see if it gets used next week.