This week's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships media conference call with NBC Sports/Golf Channel confirmed that Tiger Woods is still the main attraction when he comes to play in any golf event. His putter may be cold, his demeanor may be disconsolate but when Tiger is in the field, expect golf fans to come out in droves to cheer him on and watch him swing.
Sir Nick Faldo, Johnny Miller, Brandel Chamblee and Dan Hicks couldn't stop talking Tiger, whether it was about his putter, his health and whether or not he will ever learn how to win again. Most other golfer comments appeared to be filler if they had nothing to do with the former world's number-one player.
I can't say that I blame these four announcers for making Woods the only topic of discussion; Tiger makes for good conversation. He has gone beyond the scope of the sport and, whether or not you are a golf fan, chances are you know who he is and have followed his life and game in some way.
The grueling WGC-Accenture match play format will certainly test the mettle of all sixty-four players in the field but the one's who will thrive will be the most accurate putters. Johnny Miller stated, "every single time, you have to have sort of the right mettle to be able to make that five or six footer to halve the hole or win the hole. That's why usually the really good putters do well in the Match Play."
Tiger Woods' putter has been cold at best in his last few events, most recently at Pebble Beach during the AT&T, where a final missed putt on the eighteenth green proved that Woods needs to work more on his short game.
Brandel Chamblee said that Woods has gotten "too mechanical". "When you see someone go from putting stroke picture to talking about a release point on a putter, which I'm not even sure I know what that means, that tells me that they have become mechanical in the whole process."
Will Tiger Woods win again?According to Nick Faldo, yes, "but the bottom line is trust, or self belief, self confidence in your ability."
Johnny Miller countered. "The more tournaments that he's sniffing on the lead and doesn't pull off, the more scar tissue you get, and you know, the tougher it is to make those putts."
Although I'm hoping for a good showing from Tiger Woods due to his previous record at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships, he still is beatable as first round opponent, Gonzalo Fernandez Castano, confirmed in his pre-round interview. As long as players see him as beatable, Woods will not be a true threat until he starts to win with regularity once again.
Get your fill of golf television all this week. Catch the WGC-Accenture World Match Play Championships on Golf Channel and on NBC Sports. Check your local listings.
photo credit: Stats.com