The Numbers Reveal tiger Woods' Fall from Grace and Into Golf HellThe August 10, 2010, By Bernard Livette
One year ago this week, an unheralded golfer from South Korea exposed the inaugural chink in Tiger Woods' armor. Y.E. Yang chased down Woods in the final round of the PGA Championship outside Minneapolis, handing him his first loss in a major when he held the 54-hole lead.;
He strolled around picturesque Whistling Straits on Tuesday in another world entirely - fresh off the worst performance of his career, hoping simply to play on the weekend. The prevailing question throughout most of last year's PGA was, "How can he possibly lose?" Now, on the eve of this PGA, it's more like, "Will he make the cut?"
The image of Woods pouring in putts, and pumping his fist in triumph, gave way last week to the jarring sight of him resigned to hacking it around. It was shocking enough to watch him finish 18-over-par in the Bridgestone Invitational. It was more shocking to see him hit shots without contemplation, as if he didn't care.
Let's start with this premise in examining Woods' golfing troubles: Of course the turmoil in his personal life is affecting his play. How could his mind not drift at times? Plus, on a tangible level, he became the world's best player by blending extraordinary talent with supernatural drive (much like his good friend Michael Jordan did in basketball). Woods has spent far less time practicing this year, he said, because of all the issues swirling in his life.
The numbers convey the magnitude of Woods' woes. It's nothing new for him to hit wayward tee shots, but he's dropped to 163rd on the Tour this year in driving accuracy (from 86th last year). More striking is his inability to reach greens in regulation - 16th last year, 166th this year - and his sudden struggle making putts (23rd in putting average last year, 84th this year).