Players looking for vulnerability


AUGUSTA, Ga. – Graeme McDowell said players will be looking to see if Tiger Woods appears vulnerable upon his return.

“There’s no doubt we’re wondering about that,” McDowell told me at Doral. “If he doesn’t come back and win quick, there’s no doubt his force field’s gone a little bit. All of a sudden, he’s more human.”

I asked Luke Donald about that Tuesday after his practice round at Augusta National.

“I don’t think he’ll lose his game, but when you have difficulties in your personal life it certainly can affect your life on the golf course,' Donald said. 'I’m sure about that. You’d have to be somebody very cold-hearted for it not to affect you. I think it has affected Tiger and will continue just little bit, but the more he plays and gets in a groove the easier things will get.”

Woods was showing vulnerability even before he disappeared following his accident and reports of marital infidelity. He lost a lead in the final round of a major for the first time when Y.E. Yang beat him at the PGA Championship late last summer and Phil Mickelson beat him head-to-head in their final round pairing at the HSBC Championship in November.