By Jon D. Gaede
Last week at the Riviera Country Club the media focus had shifted away from golfs number one player Vijay Singh and a rehabilitated John Daly enjoyed more attention and hype than usual.
Woods, playing like a mere mortal, finished in the top ten and under the radar.
Carlsbad Californias Rancho La Costa is where the PGA annually sets the stage for the best professional golfers to compete for the World Golf Championship. The WGC is a match play format where Tiger Woods has experienced unprecedented success.
In match play golf, you must not only play well, you must also defeat your opponent to advance. Among his elite peer group, Tiger Woods success in one-on-one match play is simply the best of all time. Tigers career record is 30-5.
On Sunday, two men were left standing. Tiger Woods and Davis Love, III, would play two rounds to determine this years Accenture (WGC) match play champion. Hes obviously the best at what he does, Love said. Hes an incredible match play player. Those who watched the morning dual on ESPN saw Tiger struggle with a poor start. He had difficulty aiming his driver and scrambled all morning. Loves early accuracy kept him in the fairway and ahead of Tiger by one after 18 holes.
As the viewing audience tuned into ABC for the primetime second round, a hungrier Tiger was emerging. The drama of the normally precise Tiger Woods, recovering out of deep rough, fairway bunkers and from behind trees is certainly interesting television, however, the compelling story emerged only for those who watched both rounds.
With the benefit of modern technology, the viewing audience was able to see the Woods swing picked apart, reviewed and analyzed from every angle. Remember, Tigers ball was all over the course during round one.
An astute ESPN analyst, Andy North, commented on the fact that mere mortals and even Tiger Woods can develop a poor swing while playing a round of golf. The difference, according to North is that Tiger is among those unique athletes in a specialized sport who can correct his swing during the round.
Unfortunately, for Davis Love, III, Tiger did correct his swing before our eyes and the national television audience. Tiger caught Davis on the 25th hole and never looked back. Love missed several short puts as Woods seemed to make the most of his and in the end it was Tiger on top again.
His 30-5 record in these match play events would be good for prizefighters, pitchers and cyclists. For professional golf, Tiger Woods success is without precedent. Winning his 40th tournament before age 30, he remains number one in the world and is still the ultimate matador.
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