Long after many people have forgotten that Ted Purdy won the EDS Byron Nelson Championship Sunday they will be talking about the fact that this was the event where Tiger Woods amazing streak of 142 straight cuts ended Friday when he missed a 15-foot putt on the last hole that would have ticketed him into the weekend.
The streak is more amazing than it is significant because Woods cares much more about winning golf tournaments, especially majors, than he does about making cuts.
But that, of course, reveals only the obvious: You cant win a golf tournament without making the cut. Similarly the great Joe DiMaggio, who once hit safely in 56 straight games for the New York Yankees, cared more about winning baseball games than ripping line drives. But you cant win baseball games without getting hits, which lead to runs.
All right. Woods cut streak is more amazing than it is significant. But I would argue that the streak tells us more about him than the nine majors he has won before his 30th birthday.
Or as one E-mailer put it best about Woods: When he is playing his worst, he is at his best.
That may sound more like Yogi Berra than Joe DiMaggio. But there is no golfer alive more fun to watch when he isnt hitting on all cylinders than Woods. His recoveries from compromising positions on the golf course are repeatedly wondrous. And then theres the part about him that doesnt know how to quit.
Yeah, he said Friday after missing the cut by a shot. I fight all the way in. Thats how I am. I think thats indicative to the longevity of the streak. Youve got to give it everything youve got, got to have some good breaks along the way and Ive definitely had my share, but Ive also gutted it out at times where'like today'I didnt feel very good, but other times Ive gotten it in the clubhouse.
It is highly unlikely Woods will lose any sleep over missing the cut. He is, after all, holder of the most coveted streak in golf so far this year: Consecutive current majors won.
Woods won the Masters. He is the only PGA Tour player alive who can win the Grand Slam this year. Expect him to use the missed cut at the Nelson as a motivator and also as an object lesson to study his game and find out what he needs to fix before next months U.S. Open at Pinehurst.
Woods is nothing if not a student of the game. He is a teacher mostly by example.
It can be very difficult at times not to phone it in in golf. Woods never does. He doesnt even know how.
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