Monday 14 October 2019

Woods is willing to accept his weakness

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods

The consistency may have disappeared but the competitive edge remains for Tiger Woods.

Frustrated at missing the cut at The Open, only the second time in his career he has done so at a major more than once in the same season, the former world number one remains defiant and determined, if somewhat pragmatic.

His famed powers of recovery are long gone. He knows it. His rivals know it. We know it. If he does not start well there is no coming back.

It was the case at Royal Portrush where an opening seven-over 78, battling his chronic back problems, did for his chances so that even an improved second-round 70 could not save him from a weekend off.

There is a train of thought that, with his physical health issues, the conditions an Open Championship throws up means he is unlikely to be in contention, unlike at the Masters where things are much more in his favour, as proved by his 15th major win in April.

Woods argues to the contrary, even if he accepts he is no longer the hero wearing the cloak of invincibility he did during 683 weeks as world number one in the first decade of the 21st century.

"It's just a matter of being consistent. That's one of the hardest things to accept as an older athlete is that you're not going to be as consistent as you were at 23," said Woods, who has had more back operations (four) than major triumphs (one) in the last decade.

"I'm going to have my hot weeks. I'm going to be there in contention with a chance to win - and I will win tournaments.

"But there are times when I'm just not going to be there and that wasn't the case 20-some-odd years ago.

"I had a different body and I was able to be a little bit more consistent."

On the flip side, winning one of four majors in the year, considering where the 43-year-old was not so long ago, now seems eminently acceptable.

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