WOODS’ 79 in round 3 of the Farmers Insurance Open was the major golfing story over the weekend. For just the fifth time as a professional Woods shot 79 or worse.
His 79 tied his highest score as a professional on American soil. The world No 1’s highest round anywhere as a pro came at the 2002 Open Championship where he shot 81 in brutal weather conditions.
Why all the fuss about Tiger’s bad round? The problem for Woods is that he has set such a high standard for himself and everyone now expects to see him performing at his peak week in and week out. It is amazing to think, for example that Woods has missed just nine cuts on the PGA Tour while Phil Mickelson, the second-best player of Woods’ generation, has missed 76 cuts, but it does not make the headlines when Mickelson plays badly.
Playing badly is what all other professionals go through on a regular basis. The next tournament for Woods will be the Omega Dubai Desert Classic starting on January 30 in the United Arab Emirates. His performance will determine whether Tiger’s score of 79 should be dismissed as a once-off or be viewed as the start of his downfall.
The eventual winner at the tournament was Scott Stalling on a score of nine-under par. On the European tour Sergio Garcia won the Qatar Masters. His victory was his 11th victory on the European tour. The victory allowed him to move from number 11 to No 9 in the world rankings released on Monday.
The Spaniard has previously been ranked as high as No 2, but has never been able to hold down the number one position.
Also missing in his career is a major, Garcia at 34 is the same age the legendary Ben Hogan was when he won his first major championship, so it is never too late for Sergio to start winning majors. This victory so early in the season will definetly boost his confidence.
Zimbabwean Sheldon Steyn became one of 31 players who earned their 2014 Sunshine Tour card at Bloemfontein Golf Club. Four Zimbabweans participated and Steyn was the only one to get his card at the qualifying school.
A tour card is a card that allows a professional golfer to play in tournaments on a particular tour. On the sunshine tour; the top 120 players from the previous year’s money list retain their tour cards, while the rest have to go through the qualifying school where 30 players and ties will receive their tour cards.