Forgive the return to golf, but the following question continues to stick in my craw: Why is it that so many golfers for the past 15 years have pulled El Foldo routines when matched head to head with Tiger Woods? It is just astonishing how many times his competitors just collapse and hand him tournaments. (To be fair, of course, there also are more than the usual number of tourneys in which Tiger has hit miracle shots to win.) Anyway, there we were again yesterday, with Woods tied for the lead but already lying three and still not on the green on the par-5 16th hole, while Van Pelt sat in the fairway looking at a six-iron approach for his second shot -- in other words, effectively a two-shot advantage. Naturally, Van Pelt completely hashed up the hole from then on, taking five strokes to get down from there and thus matching Woods' bogey. Van Pelt proceeded to bogey the next two holes as well -- a bogey-bogey-bogey finish that handed the title to Woods on a silver platter.
Look, golf is a hard game. But it's really pitiful the way Woods' fellow pros seem to be intimidated by him. Tot this day, not a single soul in the United States (I think Thomas Bjorn may have done it once abroad, but I need to re-check the record) has defeated Woods, from tied or behind on the last three holes, by making birdies when it really counted. (Hal Sutton did hold Woods off at the Players Championship in the gloaming once, but Sutton was ahead and hanging on, not tied or coming from behind.)
Woods is a remarkable talent. All credit to him for his golf skills. But really, isn't there anybody out there with the guts to stare him down?
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