AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) Whenever Tiger Woods knocked one into the drinking water at Amen Corner for the 2nd day in a row, he going off toward the Nelson Link while his two playing companions took a more familiar route to the particular 12th green over the Hogan Link.
In a sense, those divergent paths were the perfect analogy with regard to where Woods is at this phase of his career.
He might add another major name to his amazing record.
Maybe even two.
But he’ s not really catching Jack Nicklaus, and his times of dominating on the PGA Tour are usually done.
He’ s i9000 going one way. The kids are going one more.
Golf, like almost all sports, belongs to the youth.
With an exception or two, they’ ll be the ones battling for your green jacket at Augusta Nationwide this weekend. Patrick Reed. Rory McIlroy . Jordan Spieth . Justin Thomas. Rickie Fowler . Most members of the 20-something club.
As Stephen Colbert as soon as joked in his previous job as being a fake talk show host, ” Folks, I don’ t believe in children. They’ re here to change us. ”
Certainly, they are.
For all the called for excitement over Woods’ remarkable return from back fusion surgery – and make no mistake, nobody gets the patrons going like Gambling – he’ ll head to Sunday a daunting 13 shots behind the particular front-running Reed.
The biggest 36-hole comeback at the Masters had been Jack Burke Jr. rallying through eight shots down to beat Tobey maguire Venturi in 1956, and only since the amateur soared to an 80 around the final day.
Hardwoods has no shot of chasing straight down a star-packed leaderboard that includes 8 major winners among the top fourteen players, not to mention the guy regarded the best without a major title (Fowler) and another potential star within the making (Reed).
The standard age of the top 14 players is definitely 32 years old – a decade more youthful than Woods.
6 of them are under 30.
Sure, there are a few outliers within the group, including a pair of 41-year-olds, Henrik Stenson and Charley Hoffman . There will often be a place for those with experience – specifically at a course such as Augusta Nationwide.
Sixty-year-old Bernhard Langer made the cut. Ditto intended for 58-year-old Wendy Couples .
Although it hasn’ t shown this week, the particular Masters will likely be Woods’ best photo at winning another major tournament, something he hasn’ t performed since hobbling to a playoff triumph at the 2008 U. S. Open up.
But he actually on a course that he clearly understands so well, winning four eco-friendly jackets, finishing in the top 10 9 other times and never missing the reduce at a professional, Woods looked mainly overmatched in the first two models. After opening with a 73 – and boldly proclaiming that he had been right in the mix of things – he struggled to a 3-over seventy five Friday.
That matched up the second-worst score on his Experts record. The only other time he or she went higher was a 76 within the opening round of the 2003 competition.
The bravado has been all gone.
” I need help. I’ m not really in control of my own destiny, ” this individual moaned. ” I’ m up to now back. ”
Considering that 1900, only 18 players possess won a major championship at age forty two and older. The only member of that will group to win twice is definitely Julius Boros, who was 43 whenever he captured the 1963 Oughout. S. Open and, at age forty eight, became the oldest major champ with his victory at the 1968 PGA Championship.
Woods continues to be stuck on 14 major game titles for nearly a decade.
Although his health is as good since it’ s been in years – and that’ s certainly great for the game – he is now dealing with a staggering array of young guns exactly who barely remember a time when Hardwoods was the man to beat in the PGA Tour.
They actually aren’ t the least bit intimidated simply by him.
In Augusta, Woods played the first two models with 34-year-old Aussie Marc Leishman and 27-year-old Englishman Tommy Fleetwood , who may be easily recognized by his thick facial beard and long, flowing hair.
Even with the biggest galleries around the course following them around – and pleading over and over again, ” That can be done it, Tiger! ” – these people outshot Woods both days.
They certainly saw no cause to fear Woods when he produced a mess of the fifth hole, pressing his tee shot into the trees and shrubs right of the fairway and banging his second shot into the dense brush left of the green. This individual struggled just to find the ball. There is no chance of getting it out.
Woods was forced to get an unplayable lie, leading to the double-bogey that pretty much left your pet scrambling the rest of the day.
Before the Masters even began, Hardwoods conceded that most of his greatest days are behind him. There’ s no more talk of chasing straight down Nicklaus. He seems content simply being able to play without pain, for nevertheless long that lasts.
” Six months ago, I didn’ t know if I was going to enjoy again, ” Woods said. ” It’ s incredible. I’ mirielle just so thankful to have this particular opportunity to be able to play golf once again. Playing at a championship level, actively playing at a Tour level, is such a reward. I wanted to play golf again. It’ s something I’ ve carried out virtually my whole life. I skipped it. ”
All of us missed him, too.
And if this is as good as it will get, that’ s good enough.
Paul Newberry is a sports columnist for The Connected Press. Write to him with pnewberry(at)ap. org or at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963. His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul newberry
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