News & Opinion

Same old Tiger? Nope, just an old Tiger

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – Tiger Woods shot 8-over 78 on Thursday at Shinnecock Hills and is tied for 101st after the first round of the U.S. Open (scores).

Was the train wreck foreseen? Maybe. Let’s be honest: Woods has made more of his comeback from back-fusion surgery last year than many would have thought, but he seems to have stalled on the backstretch. What worked earlier in the season is not working now.

His putter is cold, so cold that Woods has used it almost as a crutch to explain his mediocre play.

The Woods of old would have drained many of the putts that slipped past the hole Thursday.

The Woods of old never would have four-putted from any distance.

On Thursday, Woods recorded his second-worst score in the U.S. Open. In the first round in 2015 at Chambers Bay, he shot 80. It was two rounds and done that year, only his second missed cut in the U.S. Open, which he has won three times. 

After that first round in 2015, Woods stood T-152 and said the following: 

“It was a tough day,” Woods said. “Got off to a bad start [bogey-bogey]. I stuck that 6-iron in the ground on the first hole, and then just couldn't quite get it turned around today.”

Three years later, after Woods started triple bogey-bogey, he sounded familiar.

“It’s tough out there,” he said. “I mean, shouldn’t make two doubles and a triple, four-putt. No. 1, I hit it right through the wind and compounding my problem, I actually hit a really good flop shot. The wind actually knocked it down, didn’t carry it.”

This is not the Woods of old; it’s the old Woods.

At 42, Woods showed no signs Thursday of the type of game that could elevate him into contention. Yet, he believes that he can post a round in the 60s today and make the cut for the weekend. 

“Shoot something in the 60s [Friday], and I’ll be just fine,” Woods said as he departed.

Unless he has taken up parlor tricks or changed his name to Houdini, Woods showed little to make anyone believe that a score in the 60s is in his future.

Recent history backs that up. Starting in 2010, Woods has recorded only two rounds in the 60s in the U.S. Open, a 66 in the third round in 2010 and a 69 in the first round in 2012.

But this is 2018, and to believe that Woods has a chance to win – or even contend – is contrary to common sense.

What would make more sense would be to call the harbor master at nearby Sag Harbor, where Woods’ yacht Privacy is moored, and let him know that the boat will be leaving early.

Alex Miceli is the founder and publisher of Morning Read. Email: alex@morningread.com; Twitter: @AlexMiceli