Tiger Woods spoke of patience after his opening-round 77 at the Dubai Desert Classic.
Yes, that should be exercised – by all parties.
Perhaps, too, should be a new strategy for New Tiger.
When asked on Thursday how he manages to stay positive, Woods, currently 12 shots off the lead and two swings removed from last place, responded: “[H]opefully this wind blows tomorrow and I shoot a good round and get back to even par now. That's certainly not out of the realm of winning the golf tournament.”
Easy there, New Tiger.
Old Tiger would relish a scenario in which the elements worsened. Old Tiger would muscle through Mother Nature while those of lesser ability – which would have been everyone else in the field – would succumb.
But Old Tiger wouldn’t have shot 77 in docile conditions, to begin with.
This Tiger, the New Tiger, has altered his swing to reduce pain. He’s mellowed. And he says he’s using different scoring tactics on the course. But maybe the bigger picture needs more scrutiny.
Since winning the Farmers Insurance Open for a seventh time, in 2013, Woods has gone MDF-WD-DNP-MC. That’s a lot of consonants with only one sub-par score.
Torrey Pines was a playground for Old Tiger. Maybe it’s not a good fit for New Tiger.
Traveling from California to Dubai for a reported seven-figure appearance fee. Candy from a baby for Old Tiger. Worth the trip for New Tiger?
Riviera? Never a great track for Old Tiger but a must-play now with his foundation ties. And perhaps it will prove to be a good changeup for New Tiger. Because that’s what he needs, change.
He doesn’t need to play beastly layouts, courses where anything under par is good, or those with gnarly rough. He doesn’t need to pine for poor weather or traverse the globe for money that won’t have an effect on his life.
It doesn’t matter his past successes or all the positive memories he has stored.
New Tiger should have considered a 2017 debut at the CareerBuilder, à la Phil Mickelson. Make some birdies, offset the bogeys, garner some early momentum. Don’t schedule Alabama as your opener, even if it’s a home game.
Tiger’s only official top-10 finish since his five-win 2013 campaign was at the Wyndham Championship (2015). First time he ever played that event.
Woods has only played three rounds this year (76-72-77), but the early results aren’t positive – aside from the fact that he hasn’t injured himself, to our knowledge. And if he continues along that well-worn road it promises to only get more difficult.
New Tiger needs to forge a new path.
Perhaps you can’t teach an Old Tiger new tricks. But Old Tiger isn’t walking through that door.