It’s real now. Tiger Woods is a shadow of his former self.
It’s hard to remember a more difficult round of major championship golf to watch than this morning’s opening round of the 2015 US Open.
One can only imagine how hard it must have been to play. And we’ve still got three rounds to go.
Chambers Bay bared its teeth as players struggled to find the fairways, hold the greens and ‘roll’ in putts. The fescue greens were bouncing balls all over the place as putt after putt wobbled towards, and often right by the hole.
The players were clearly frustrated and none more so than Tiger Woods.
The 14-time major champion was a shadow of his former self, sending tee shots to all parts of the golf course and racked up bogey after bogey. Several of his putts appeared to bounce off-line as it approached the hole. But Woods’ problems aren’t just limited to bad luck on the greens.
Woods got to 10-over par with seven bogeys and a triple-bogey before carding his first birdie of the day at the 16th hole. It was a wild, wild round that at one stage saw Woods lose control of his golf club playing a shot from deep rough.
He wasn’t the only one struggling though. Playing partner Rickie Fowler was considered one of the favourites to contend for the 2015 US Open but finished with a worse score than Woods. In fact the grouping of Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler and Louis Oosthuizen were the ‘featured group’ official US Open online feed but they combined for a score of 28-over par for the day.
While it was a surprise to everyone to see Fowler play so badly, it wasn’t to see Woods rack up a big number.
It’s no secret his golf game has been off, but seeing this implosion in the first round of a major championship somehow makes it more real. And even more difficult to watch.
Here is a 14-time major champion struggling with both mentally and physically. It would be great for golf to see Woods return to form and contend for a major again. It’d be great to see him contend for any tournament again but that now looks a long way away. Perhaps only in the past.
How the mighty has fallen.