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Golf: Recalling Tiger’s Famous 2019 Masters Victory – Never Say Never

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland

“The consensus after that (major surgery) was that Tiger would never win another major. But you never say never.” That’s from Curtis Strange and one of many quotes reflecting on Tiger’s famous win.

The article available at Golf Digest is quite lenghty and I’ve picked out the quotes that struck me as memorable.

Back to the arm swing
PETER KOSTIS: His swing now is constructed to take pressure off his back. He used to control the club with his hands and arms; his body followed that swinging motion. Somewhere around the end of Hank Haney [as Woods’ teacher] and the beginning of Sean Foley, Tiger started to “body” his swing. He got more physical. He generated his arm swing through his body motion, rather than the other way around. And that’s when he lost his way. That’s when he hit a lot of foul balls. Since the last surgery, he has gone back to swinging his arms again. He lets his body accommodate itself to his arm swing. In that way, he was swinging in 2019 the way he swung in 1997, albeit with a different body and effort level.

Getting away with it at Augusta
NICK FALDO (CBS): He makes two birdies out of the left trees on 14 on Thursday and Friday, and he [later] makes two pars out of the right trees on 11. Now, you give him four crooked drives, as we know at Bethpage [2019 PGA], and you’re missing the cut. Augusta, he can get away with it.

Getting it wrong at 12
BROOKS KOEPKA: Four out of six guys just don’t hit it in the water because of pressure. The wind switched completely on us. I actually backed off because the wind kind of went down, and I should have hit it, because it would have gone to the middle of the green. … The wind can kind of make you look stupid on that hole. 
GRAEME MCDOWELL: I was on Twitter having a bit of banter. I put up a Google map to show the wind direction—12 was playing into the wind. It was amazing to see how many guys got it wrong.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I didn’t see Frankie (Molinari) making such a colossal error on the 12th. When you’re leading the tournament, you don’t hit right of the bunker. It doesn’t matter how confident you are.

The Tiger I used to know
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Tiger was a different person over the last five holes—he was the Tiger I used to know. His instincts took over. He forgot all about his swing and how it was feeling. He was playing golf. All he did was hit the shots that made winning most likely. He hit a cut off the 14th tee. He did the same on the 15th, a hole where the temptation is to try for a big drive. He was pragmatic. Gone was the guy trying to hit shots just to show the world he could hit them. He was just trying to get the ball in the hole. Aesthetics went out of the window.

Them’s the breaks
PETER KOSTIS: For the longest time, it seems like Tiger got every break in the book. If he hit a tee shot earlier in his career, he would always get a lie or have a swing if he was off line. Then he would pull off the shot and make a par or a birdie. Subsequent to the scandal, he lost that mojo. He walked into the woods or the rough with his head down. The body language had changed. But my thought at Augusta was, Wow, he’s got it back. The breaks were back. On the 15th hole, Molinari’s third shot hit a pine cone and fell into the pond. Tiger’s second shot at 18 also hit a pine cone, but the ball dropped in front of the green in a spot where he could get up and down. It could have gone anywhere, way to the right in the trees, unplayable—whatever. He could have made a big number had the bounce not gone his way. Now, you need good breaks to win anywhere, but I thought he was back in every way possible: physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Link to Golf Digest

Quote of the Day
“It would have brought a tear to a glass eye.” - Graeme McDowell reflecting on the sight of Tiger’s children running up to their father as he stepped off the 18th green.


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