COLUMN: Any reason to feel sorry for Tiger?

Tony Muller

Tiger Woods … Poor Tiger. Didn’t win a major on the PGA Tour this year. But is that a reason to feel sorry for him?

I don’t really think so.

Consider this. Tiger had four wins on tour: the Buick Invitational, the World Golf Championships Accenture Match Play, the Bay Hill Invitational and the Western Open.

But Woods’ performances at the majors left a lot to be desired.

Woods tied for 15th at the Masters, tied for 20th at the U.S. Open, tied for 4th at the British Open, and tied for 39th at the PGA Championship.

In all 15 events Tiger played in this year, he had a total of 10 top 10 finishes, 14 in the top 25, and made the cut each time. And in the all-important column — money — he finished second to Vijay Singh with just under $6.7 million in prize money.

A lot of people, especially those in the sports media, seem to think that Tiger is in some kind of a slump, considering the finishes he’s had this year.

Folks, Tiger Woods has already won a ton of tournaments over his short career span, including the grand slam of all four majors.

It’s good for the game to see other young, up and coming players, like Mike Weir win the Masters, and Ben Curtis winning the British Open.

Tiger will continue to win his share of tournaments, including majors, and will extend his winning into the Senior PGA Tour.

Consider these other stats: Woods ranked 11th in driving distance with 299.5 yards. He ended third in birdie average with 4.26 per round. Tiger ranked first in eagle frequency with 16 in just 68 rounds, ranked first in scoring average with 68.41 — the second lowest average in PGA Tour history.

Tiger is the reason why there’s been a surging interest in the PGA Tour, as well as the LPGA and Senior Tours.

Tiger is the reason why so many thousands of kids across the country are learning the game of golf. Tiger is the inspirational reason why so many weekend hackers have improved their own individual games.

Tiger is the reason why I’m playing golf again, after taking a few years away from the game due to a heart problem.

Tiger Woods has accomplished so much in his lifetime already. Now he’s accomplished even more.

On Monday, Tiger was awarded his fifth consecutive Vardon Trophy and PGA of America Player of the Year Award. He is now tied with Tom Watson at six PGA Player of the Year awards. This award is based on points for victories, position on the money list and the Vardon Trophy standings. Tiger also has the PGA record of $9.1 million won in 2000.

But, as with all golfers, there are some things Tiger can do to improve his game before the Tour starts up again in January.

First, he needs to play in a few more tournaments, especially just before the majors. This way he will have some competition under his belt before the major and can make any adjustments as needed. The International encourages aggressive play in all aspects of Tiger’s game.

Second, Tiger needs to work aggressively on his putting, which left a lot to be desired at times, especially in the major tournaments. Nothing wrong with the long putts, its those short ones that get to everyone at times, even Tiger.

Finally, sometimes I think Tiger has too much on his plate with endorsements, interviews on TV, etc. In other words, he should take more time off for himself.

Maybe an extra bowl of Wheaties will help. It sure can’t hurt.

Tiger marches on!