June 26, 2012
Random Thoughts After the U.S. Open: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlory, and More
The USGA was the real winner of the U.S. Open - They got what they wanted. They showed the whole world including the PGA Tour who is boss. They must have called in a few favors to the Golfing gods: dry, windy, firm playing conditions, reestablishment of even or close to even par winner, and prime time ratings thanks to the west coast location. It was only fitting the “perfect” U.S. Open setup led to a rather boring finish with the best golfers in world flattering to the finish. The icing on the cake was the “Bird Man” heckler at the closing ceremony. who was yanked off the stage by none other than Mike Davis of the USGA.
Tiger will break Jack’s major record, but might never win another U.S. Open - The USGA knows how to Tiger-proof a U.S. Open. Their secret sauce is a simple one: Limit par 5 to only two and make one of them unreachable in two shots. A golf course set without reachable par 5s is like kryptonite to Tiger Woods. Tiger is the most dominate golfer to ever on par 5s. Need proof? Here are Tiger’s career stats at Bay Hill:
Career Stats at the Arnold Palmer Invitational:
-101 on Par 5
+6 over on par 3 and par 4
(stats source ESPN)
Tigers best chances of winning will always be at the Masters and British Opens where he can dominate the par 5s.
Tiger is back. Sure no majors, but through the half-way through the season he has two wins and a career low 62. What have Phil and Rory done this year?
If Phil wants to win a major again he will have to go through a major swing change - It’s simple, Phil is one of the most gifted ball strikers with an iron or a wedge in his hands. His short-game only seems to get better with age. But his tee shots stink. It doesn’t matter if Phil is teeing off with a driver or a fairway wood, he doesn’t hit enough fairways under pressure (the exact same can be said about Luke Donald). Phil must flatten his steep swing plane to hit the driver straighter. Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus both made this change successfully late in their careers. He is working with the right coach, Butch Harmon to do this.
The USGA won’t ban the belly putter - Even though Webb Simpson and Keenan Bradley have won recent majors with belly putters, it’s here to stay. The USGA knows that way too many older golfers with yips and putting problems are using the belly and long putter. For the “good of the game” the USGA says they are legal.
Rory McIlory needs to grow up - Rory is the most talented golfers on the planet, but his lack of preparation for majors and his aggressive play is costing him wins. He continues to hit the duck hook under pressure like he did at Augusta and recently in Memphis on his last tee shot in contention. Rory must do everything he can do to hit more fairways and that starts by hitting less drivers in majors. His string of missed cuts is evidence that he needs to play smarter to get in to contention.
Webb Simpson will win more majors - Webb reminds me of a young Raymond Floyd in the way he carries himself on the golf course. Beneath that preppy All-American exterior is a serious competitor. Webb could win another U.S. Open (maybe Shinnecock) and has the game to win at Augusta.