Tiger Woods choked at the Masters
There are many forms of choking. The most obvious is the jerked, pushed, woefully short or too long putt under pressure. Those are visible – like Scott Hoch in the 1989 Masters. Nerves can betray a golfer on delicate touch shots around the green. Usually those are detectable as well – like Thomas Bjorn in the 2004 Open Championship. Full shots are generally exempt from the choking label unless they are horribly executed like a duck-hook or near-shank – like Lorena Ochoa in the 2005 US Women’s Open. Very rare for professionals, not so much for amateurs such as we. Then there is another kind which is horrible decision-making down the stretch when every mistake is magnified – like Phil Mickelson in the 2006 US Open. And like Tiger Woods on the 15th hole in the 2007 Masters.
Down only two shots with 4 holes to play, with the leader a neophyte major contender yet to play the deceptively difficult final 2 holes, Woods made the dumbest decision of his professional life. He tried to carve a long-iron second-shot miracle out of the rough onto a difficult surface to hit. As he would prove after the prayer was not answered and his second shot found its proper watery resting place, the appropriate play was to lay up to wedge range where the greatest short game in the world would likely get up and down to creep within one of the lead. Turns out that winner Zach Johnson did bogey the 17th. Woods would’ve been tied for the lead and looking good.
It makes me wonder what is going on in the famous Woods mind. Is the business of golf starting to cloud the mind? Or perhaps impending fatherhood has him occupied. Or maybe, just maybe, the first Masters without his Dad was too much for him to bear. We have no way of knowing what, but we must assume that SOMETHING wasn’t right. How often would a great mathematician bungle simple addition & subtraction?
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being 6 or 7 shots behind displaying skill as well as discipline, when other major champiions faded. did he take calculated chances and not execute? yes. did he choke? dont think so. these people who write about golf, have you ever played? have you ever played with any skill? did you take any writing classes?
That struck me as strange as well. Woods has an uncanny ability to stop in the middle of a swing, one he has demonstrated many a time. However, I thought the swing in question was definitely way over the line. Perhaps there's something in the rules about having to have the intention of striking the ball, I don't know. But that would open such things up to too much interpretation.
Sorry, my friend, but you're sorely mistaken here. First of all, in trying to build your case, you're painting the shot as having been tougher than it was. There's no "rough" to speak of at the Masters; what is there is for little more than show and I'm sure Woods had a decent lie. Moreover, the shot was well within his capacity, and he no doubt knew that birdieing the subsequent holes would be a tall order. He had to take advantage of that par five, and the percentages dictated that he should go for the green in two.
I can guarantee you that Woods would tell you in all honesty that, were he to do it over again, he would choose the same shot. Remember, he really didn't miss the green by much; he just over-cut the iron a bit.
You must be at a loss for things to write about.
I believe that, when the ball is on the tee (and possibly in other situations), you can intentionally detour the swing and not have to count the stroke. If you clearly attempt to hit the ball and miss, it counts. It´s not akin to the checked-swing rule in baseball at all, where rotation through is the critical factor.
Really bad shots under pressure might be choking--but if a player sometimnes makes really bad shots in other situations, then that might not be choking. Maybe Lorena Ochoa simply made a bad shot at a bad time and it had nothing to do with choking.
Woods didn't choke, Ochoa did. When you hit a driver extremely fat off a TEE and dump the ball into a water hazard that shouldn't even be in play for a good player, it's a choke of monumental proportions. Mickelson also often chokes.
Official ruling (of course after the fact it was too late): since I tried to stop, I did not have the intention to strike the ball. I was the sole judge of the intention. It was obvious, like in Tiger's case, that I tried to stop. The stroke should not have been counted. Lesson learned the hard way.
As for Tiger choking: he lays up on 15, makes the birdie (let's say 75% probable) and still looses the tournament. Don't forget he parred the hole. He was right in assuming he had to eagle.
Woods did not have to eagle .... he only needed a couple of birdies. If he birdies 15 to draw within one, who knows what would have happened. Jack Nicklaus' greatest strength was to think clearly when others around him did not (choked). Funny that CBS showed that great special of Arnold Palmer birdieing the last 2 holes to win in 1960. Perhaps Woods should have watched.
And that shot wasn't even close to clearing the pond on 15. As soon as they showed him with the long iron in his hand, all of the guys I was watching with agreed that Woods was panicking. So it was no surprise when his ball went in on the right hand side of the pond, about in the middle. Taking into account the false front of the green, it would've needed to travel another 10-15 yards. Had Woods been in the fairway then he would have had a decent chance of putting that one the green. But light as it was, that rough increased the difficulty of the shot tremendously. Sorry, but in this instance, he gagged. That he finished in 2nd place doesn't change that. Masters history is full of 2nd place choking.
Not a choke. No way. The problem wasn't the shot selection, b/c 15 represented the last true birdie oppt'y for him. And the hole wasn't playing as easy as it had in years past, evidenced by its avg score. Laying up doesn't guarantee the birdie.
It was poor execution, plain and simple. Had he executed his shots flawlessly, to that point, I might agree with your assessment, because it would have been a significant departure from the norm. Tiger did struggle, in comparison to himself, in years past. It wasn't effortless like it has been in other majors. And as you mentioned, the rough made the shot harder. It was a poor shot, but it wasn't a choke.
Jim - A poor decision CAN, in fact, be a choke. A bad decision, caused by pressure, can be considered choking.
And while not what you call birdie holes, the pins on 16, 17 & 18 were in their easiest spots to get at all week. He should have known better.
I'll presume that everyone arguing with me here has been to Augusta since they started growing the light rough and planted those trees on the right side of the fairway. Woods had to hit a long iron out of a marginal lie in 2 inch rough around those trees, significantly left to right and carry it halfway into the green to even have a chance of holding that surface, which, almost certainly wouldn't have happened because of the lack of backspin and rock hard condition of the green. So even with a miracle shot, he would likely have been chipping, at best. why wouldn't he trust his own best all-around short game in the world to get that birdie instead of that unbelievably risky shot? And there were still 3 more holes to play after this one.
Woods made a bad decision and that thinking was influenced by the pressure of the moment. I call that choking. Happens to everybody, although less to Woods than anybody else currently playing. But some folks refuse to criticize him. Well, he ain't God. He messed up this time.
15 was a "go" hole. No guarantee that he was going to make birdie by laying up. And I think you significantly overstate the "2 out of 3" times he would make birdie by laying up. He has one of the top short games, but not the top.
How much did Johnson win by? 2 strokes, perhaps? And that is with a dumb bogey on 17. So I think it proves that the gamble was necessary.
Calling this a choke is just trying to elicit reaction. It really has no merit or basis in fact.
And I can't disagree with you enough on Tiger Woods not having the best all-around short game in the world. The man is a magician. Seve was the best I've ever seen, but Woods is the best playing now - IMO.
He would have most likely been able to hold the green -- he was CUTTING it in. It just seemed as if he over-cut the shot.
1. The greens were more receptive on Sunday than at any other point during the tournament.
2. Tiger hits the highest, softest long irons of anyone since the Bear.
I just believe that pressure adversely affected his judgement of the risk/reward.
Are you related to my wife somehow?
She uses the same circuitous strategy you do.