Following Tiger’s T3 finish in Abu Dhabi, Hawkins said that he always resisted the idea that Tiger scared anyone on a Sunday because he could not control what other players did although he did have a presence. Physically, Tiger and his swing looked very good but his ability to perform down the stretch was not there and that is something that has changed over the last few years.
He thinks that maybe in 2000 Tiger had a strong effect on playing partners on Sunday but after talking with a number of TOUR pros, he does not have the sense that he caused anyone to not play well in the final round plus he would expect players in the final round to relish the opportunity to play against the best on Sunday. It was just that Tiger was so much better than everyone else at his peak.
When asked about the significance of the environment surrounding Tiger Woods, John agreed that the crowds have an effect but still does not believe that the crowds intimidated players and caused many of them to fall down the leaderboard.
In reference to Phil Mickelson’s struggles, Hawkins said that when he played with Phil in 1999, he learned more than anyone could ever learn with the putter and feels that Phil is a genius when it comes to the short game. When Mickelson started using an anchored putter in 2011, that made Hawkins think that Phil was (and still is) completely lost with his putting game and for someone who does not hit the ball straight, that is a big problem.
What Kyle Stanley went through on Sunday was tough to watch. Stanley is a great kid and a great player and thinks that he will bounce back but it was very tough to watch. He added that it may have been the moment of the month of January in the world of golf. He lives between where the Giants and Patriots play and while he is not rooting for the Giants, he thinks that the Giants will win the Super Bowl on Sunday.