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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Other Sport

Woods unable to rise to occasion

Agencies
Ardmore, June 17, 2013
First Published: 01:15 IST(17/6/2013)
Last Updated: 03:13 IST(17/6/2013)

Tiger Woods looks tired. Not physically tired, not fatigued - he looks tired of falling apart at Major championships.

He strokes a putt, and it goes only halfway to the hole. He stubs a chip, and it dribbles less than a club length away. He tries again, and the second chip produces the same result.

At moments like these, he stares wearily at the ball, almost glassy-eyed. Sometimes he shoots a somnolent look at the club in his hand - an expression that seems to say, Why are you doing this to me?

Major championships used to be Woods’ playground. He was a bundle of energy, all fist pumps and throaty screams. He twirled the club in his hand, marched across fairways and pointed his finger at putts as they rolled toward the hole, commanding the ball to go in.

The ball always listened. Then Woods would flash that smile, the one full of verve and vitality. He had an unstoppable dynamism, storming the majors as if he were on horseback and the rest of the field were crawling on hands and knees. With his shoulders back and his eyes forward, he was forever charging.

During Saturday’s third round of the US Open, when he shot a six-over-par 76, dropping out of contention, Woods stood with his shoulders slumped and his gaze fixed between his feet on multiple holes. It is a new look for him, a post-2008 droop, a pose of dazed resignation. He remains proud. He does not quit. But he is clearly getting tired of all this losing at majors. “It is certainly frustrating,” he said Saturday about losing another chance at a major championship. “I was feeling like I was playing well.”

PHIL’S BIRTHDAY GIFT?

Five-time US Open runner-up Phil Mickelson has a golden chance to finally capture the major title that has eluded him in Sunday’s final round. On his 43rd birthday, the four-time Major champion who skipped practice this week, said:   “It has got the makings to be something special, but I still have to go out and perform.”


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