Is Tiger Woods still an intimidating presence on PGA Tour leaderboards?
Count CBS Sports analyst Nick Faldo among those who wonder if Woods’ “aura of invincibility” has been irrevocably damaged in recent years.
According to the Irish Golf Desk, Faldo said over the weekend, “Tiger was always in everybody’s head. As soon as he walked on the range, as soon as they saw him on the leaderboard, the players would use up energy just thinking about him. Now, four or five years in, the players are saying, ‘We know Tiger has enough to deal with himself, so I will just concentrate on my own game.’
“And the reverse of that is Tiger knows that everybody knows that he is inside his own head. Before, he was just brutal. He was a demolition man, wasn’t he? He would just plow through everybody. Now, he’s struggling for confidence and everybody knows that he’s struggling to find his own self-belief and the confidence that he used to have. That’s a big swing there. Tiger is now trying to find his confidence again and people know that.
“He shows flashes of it but he doesn’t finish it off. His weekends have been pretty rough in all the majors. It is going to be very interesting for the players to see how he deals with it. He has to deal with his own stuff now, like we all do. Tiger was paranormal before and now he has gone back to being just a normal, very, very good golfer.”
Though Woods has won three times this season, he’s still No. 2 in the world ranking, behind 23-year-old Rory McIlroy. More pressing, Woods has been stuck on 14 majors since the 2008 U.S. Open, and he’ll be 37 years old when he heads to the Masters in April.
“Tiger’s competitive,” Faldo said, according to the report. “I’m sure he doesn’t want anyone else having his spotlight. He was to beat this kid now. Tiger has a real goal, to come out and beat these youngsters again. He’s still just 36. He’s still competitive. He still believes and he wants to show them he is still the master.
“The problem is that kids like Rory aren’t as afraid of him as they used to be.”