As The Players Championship begins this week in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., all eyes once again will be focused on a guy who has only one official victory in the past two-plus years – Tiger Woods. There were many who believe the Striped One was back after his victory at Bay Hill this past March, but he’s only broken par one time in his past six rounds and missed the cut last week at Wells Fargo.
Eldrick is still “stuck” on 14 major victories and Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 seems farther away with every major squandered or lost.
Arnold Palmer’s advice to Woods? Just play and stop thinking, which is actually good advice for any player – scratch or hacker.
“At the current situation he’s going to have trouble (breaking Nicklaus’ record), that’s my feeling,” the King said. “If he goes back to his original style of playing and his knowledge of what he knows about the game and gives all this technical that he’s into away, he might. But the chances are getting less and less as time goes on.”
Lee Trevino – never one to complicate matters – believes Woods is too mechanical. You can blame Sean Foley, his current swing coach, or go back to point the finger (as many have) at his old coach, Hank Haney. Regardless, at the end of the day, it’s Woods swinging the club.
“Tiger was a feel player,” Trevino said. “We’ve all known him since he was eight years old. Arnie I think’s known him longer than that. But he needs to get back to feel. What he needs to do, he needs to go off by himself, nobody else, and take it out of the ground. That’s what I did; that’s what Ben Hogan did. All of the old pros used to take it out of the ground. There was no instructor, there were no gurus and no sports psychologists and all this other stuff.
“You went out there and you took it out of the ground. You play with confidence, you see, that’s what you do. It’s like running a 26‑mile marathon, if you’re running a mile and a half a day, hell, you’re not going to run 26 miles. So you’ve got to do it. You’ve got to take it out of the ground and that’s what gives you the confidence.”
That’s a good lesson all of us – even Tiger Woods – can learn.