Here we go again. Tiger Woods is up and at them this week for the kick off of the FedEx Cup at The Barclays. Tiger is coming off one of the worst putting displays I have seen from him in a long time (he missed two putts within five feet) as well as one of the most conservative rounds I can remember him ever playing. Tiger lost to Asian sensation Y.E. Yang. Yang came in to the event having only played in seven previous majors, never making the cut in a single one, and managed to put himself in the final group on Sunday. He came in firing at pins and having the time of his life. You could tell from the smiles and high fives he was throwing around the golf course that he had nothing to lose. If he lost, it was expected. If he won, it would shock all of golf, as Tiger has never lost a major with a share of the lead or the lead going into the final round. Adding to that record he has only lost two tournaments on the PGA Tour with the share or the lead on Sunday.
So Yang comes in and manages to pull out a miracle leaving Tiger shaking his head. He missed putt after putt and managed to miss two greens on the back nine leading to lost shots and no chance at grabbing the Claret Jug. It left Tiger upset and determined to spend the next two weeks getting ready for the final leg of the season, the FedEx Cup. I personally hope that he spent it working on his short game.
In only it’s third year the FedEx Cup serves as a play off of sorts for the guys on the PGA Tour. The guys play week in and week out collecting points for their position come the last four events of the regular season. At first I was against this set up, but when Tiger only needed to play in three of the first four of these events, managing to win two of them and the first FedEx Cup, I was a little more open to the idea. Tiger would sit out the next season due to his knee injury, but has returned this year ready to show the world of golf that he truly is back. (As if five wins in only thirteen starts is not enough.)
This week is the first tournament of the FedEx Cup and is being held at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey. The purse is over seven million bucks and the course ranks as one of the longer ones on the PGA at just over 7,400 yards. The winner alone will get $1.5 million so either way, even if you do not win the FedEx Cup but manage to win an event along the way, you are going to be set financially for a long time to come.
The FedEx Cup leaderboard shows pretty much what you would expect with Tiger’s name at the top. Tiger played in only thirteen events this year. He usually averages around fifteen to eighteen, but due to his knee was unable to play in some events and wanted to take some extra time to rest this season in fear of making the injury worse. Granted, he had a stretch not too long ago where he played four weeks in a row, but still only grabbed thirteen starts. I am not sure what is more impressive with this though. Is that fact that he has the lead going into the FedEx Cup the biggest surprise or the fact that he has five wins in only thirteen starts a bigger shock? By the way, outside of the five wins this season, he has eleven top ten’s. And he missed a cut this year at the British Open.
So as Tiger makes his way around the course this week beware. The rest of the guys know he is lurking. Sure, he got beat by an unknown the last time he teed it up, but for Y.E. Yang and guys like him that was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Stuff like this does not happen every day and I would venture to say that it will not happen again.
So good luck, Tiger even though I am sure you will do just fine this week. Y.E. is not playing so you have nothing to worry about.