Ok, here’s some Buick Open trivia for you.
Question: What do Ronald Thatcher, Scott Herbert, Bob Heintz, Craig Barlow and Omar Uresti all have in common?
Answer: They can each tell their grandchildren that they played better than Tiger Woods on Thursday at the Buick Open, along with 89 other players in the field.
Woods’ one-under-par round of 71 would have been a solid showing two weeks ago at Turberry and one that he would have undoubtedly traded in his club slamming, cursing and pouting for in a second.
But, this is the Buick Open we’re talking about here. The same tournament that Kenny Perry won at 19-under-par last year and Woods himself won at 24-under-par back in 2006.
But, similar to what a Boiler Room-esque investment banker might tell you in a desperate attempt to convince you to hand him over your life savings, PGA Tour events are not a sprint, they’re a marathon.
Only at tournaments like the Buick Open where winning scores are typically around 20-under-par or better, it’s not a marathon at all, it’s a four day sprint which begins at 7am on Thursday morning when the first oversized titanium driver strikes a golf ball.
The best thing that Tiger Woods can do right now, is to get himself two separate golf bags, and not simply because a second bag would open up some additional multi-million dollar advertising space; sorry Mark Steinberg, but this is one you must have overlooked.
Woods should contemplate using two separate golf bags in order to separate his driver from his putter, because the two of them are clearly not getting along this year.
At the Accenture Match Play Championship, Woods drove the ball well but couldn’t make a put.
At the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Woods was all over the place with his driver throughout the first three rounds, but still managed to win the tournament by relying heavily on his short-game, putter, and Sean O’Hair’s clogged throat.
At the Masters, Woods alternated between poor putting and poor driving, depending upon which day it was.
At the US Open, Woods drove the ball exceptionally well but wouldn’t have been able to roll a putt into a basketball hoop.
At both the Memorial and AT&T National, Woods’ driver and putter seemed to have buried the hatchet, or at least came to some kind of agreement. Perhaps Stevie Williams had a ‘chat’ with them and frightened them into submission.
Then we have the British Open where the driver and putter had either turned their year-long battle into an all out war, or were perhaps closer than ever, because there were reports of the two of them sitting together at the Turnberry Hotel bar until all hours of the night, which could explain why Woods had to cut his pilot’s European Vacation short by two days.
This afternoon at the Buick Open, it was Woods’ putter that decided to let the team down.
Woods hit 64 percent of fairways off of the tee and 74 percent of green in regulation.
But, he needed 32 putts which ranked 130th in a field of 155 players.
Woods three-putted the second hole from inside of 20 feet. He missed par putts of less than 9 feet at both the 5th and 15th and squandered an opportunity to send the rowdy crowd surrounding the par-three 17th into a frenzy when he missed his five foot birdie putt.
“Probably one of the worst putting days I’ve ever had” Woods said after his round. “I putted good yesterday, putted good today starting out, when I was warming up. Got on the greens today, and it was just terrible.”
There is still a lot of golf left to play at the Buick Open, and a strong round tomorrow could get Woods right back into the tournament.
But, it’s about time that Woods sits down and has a serious chat with his putter and driver, because he’s not going to have much success until he can get these two clubs working well together.