Jason Sobel - February 24, 2012


In his first visit to Friday’s Morning Drive, Sobel began by saying that when he has watched Tiger Woods recently, he feels as though Tiger should begin working with a short game coach just as Phil Mickelson works with a Dave Pelz. Sean Foley does not work on short game with Tiger and Tiger has admitted that he does not have a short game coach and still relies on the teachings of his late father. Tiger has taken some advice from his friend Steve Stricker but a player cannot rely on a fellow competitor for your short game teachings. Of course, it is possible that Tiger has a short game teacher and has not told anyone. Also, Tiger seems to be blindly going for every par 5 hole in 2 as if he were still 23 years old and despite the fact that he is one the best wedge players on earth.

He has spoken to other people when he has been playing golf and he finds it interesting that there is not any instruction on how to read a green. It is possible that Tiger is simply not reading the greens correctly which may explain some of his big misses on putts.

Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy can become World #1 this week with a win and between the two, Jason said that Rory is more likely to jump to World #1 this week although he will still take the rest of the field over McIlroy or Westwood to win. It is possible that Rory’s short game is stronger than his long game and the fact is that his long game is very strong.  When Rory puts every part of his game together, he is unstoppable just as he was at the 2011 U.S. Open and Jason thinks that Rory will have at least a couple of events where he is that strong in his game.

In his second visit to Friday’s Morning Drive, Sobel said that Tiger’s performance on Thursday was his most disappointing since the final round at Pebble Beach two weeks ago. Tiger was in contention after 54 holes and paired with Phil Mickelson on Sunday at a course where he has a lot of great history only to shoot 75 while Phil shot 64 and won. That result was incredibly disappointing. While Tiger lost 1 Down to Nick Watney and did not putt well at times, Tiger did not play terribly this week.

Luke Donald decided to change his irons a year after winning the PGA TOUR and European Tour Money Lists and becoming World #1. Although he has gotten off to bad starts in Abu Dhabi, the Northern Trust Open, and the WGC-Accenture Match Play, Jason does not think that this is now the time to panic. He does not see any evidence that Luke Donald is uncomfortable with his game right now and if he were uncomfortable, Luke would change back to his old clubs. It is February 24th and we have always heard from the best players that they want to peak during the Majors. We should expect that that is Luke Donald’s goal and we should not be worried even if he loses the #1 ranking this week.

Everyone loves Match Play and Wednesday of this event is among the best days of the season. However, the event becomes less interesting as the week goes on because more and more big names drop out because they lose their matches. Golf purists will watch this event no matter what but many people will not because big names like Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy may not be there. Stroke Play events provide more opportunities for interesting storylines that will attract interest and attract viewers. Watching two guys play golf on Sunday afternoon can be a little taxing if only for the fact that many professional golfers are too slow and that is what you get with the Final of the WGC-Accenture Match Play.