John Feinstein - June 21, 2012


When it comes to what is next for Webb Simpson, Feinstein thinks that he will be a factor on the PGA TOUR for a long time. Even before he won twice in 2011, Simpson was one of those young players who many had touted as a rising star and he had had a number of close calls in tournaments on the PGA TOUR following a very successful amateur career.

If you look back to Tiger Woods’ play on Thursday and Friday, he had left a number of shots on the course that the old Tiger would have never left out there and although he was tied for the lead after 36 holes, Feinstein wondered what would happen on Saturday because his short game still seemed shaky. The reason that Tiger has not played as well over the last couple of years is not his long game but instead, it is his short game and when his short game improves, he will become more consistent in his performance.

Feinstein believes that Tiger’s father Earl did a successful job in creating a “me against the world” mentality in his son. Earl taught Tiger to believe that people doubt him and that they are mistreating him in an effort to ramp up his intensity to make him a better competitor. Those teachings certainly made Tiger a better competitor but as he is being criticized for his performance, those teachings have made him very sensitive especially when he is unsuccessful in winning Majors.

When asked about winning more Majors, Tiger always points to Jack Nicklaus’ win at the age of 46 and Tom Watson’s near-win at the age of 59. Feinstein knows that it is not a good idea to count out genius and he does not doubt that Tiger could reach 19 career Major Championship wins. Tiger is very good mentally at making adjustments and although he is an old 36 physically, he does not doubt that Tiger could break Jack’s record. One of the things that Tiger needs to do is not put so much pressure on himself to break the record because that is what it looks like he is doing in the Majors.