To my surprise, the buzz around Tiger's latest triumph was not all of the normal "isn't he great" fare that has been custom to his previous wins. The reaction has been more in the "OK, now what?" family. Not all are as impressed with his three consecutive "major tune-up" victories as I am. And I guess it makes sense. After all, what good are wins at The Arnold Palmer and The Memorial if the major events following provide average results? Average for Tiger, of course.
Mark Cannizzaro of the NY. Post provides this perspective:
Because he's set the bar so crazily high for himself, this has been a theme to Woods' year so far. Just when you think he's going to take off and fly, there are stops and starts, and his wins become more matters of survival than the overwhelming dominance he used to display regularly.
Two initial reactions come from this.
1: People are already getting tired of Tiger not being a late Sunday factor in majors- Yes, it's only been two so far, but this is Tiger that we're talking about. He's made his name winning majors. Not small tournaments. In golf, greatness is determined by how you play four weekends out of the year, and not by anything else. Unlike other sports, golfers can not fail to preform in the biggest events and be considered great. You must not only preform great in these events, you must do it multiple times. Dan Marino never won a Super Bowl, but was undeniably a great player. Quick!, name an all time great golfer without a Major?...I'm waiting.
For a sport that does not get weekly attention on the grand scale, perception can be skewed. People don't care about the Memorial or The AT&T National. If you don't win at least one of the four biggies, you are perceived to be in a slump. Is the golf fan who only watches four weekends out of the year aware that Kenny Perry is having a fantastic year, at age 49 no less? No. All they remember is the choke job at Augusta on Easter Sunday. This is the unfortunate nature of golfers. You can have a great year and not win a major. But the perception of having a great year is all in those four Sundays.
That's what happened to Tiger. Personally, I think his win at AT&T National was very impressive, his most impressive of the year. The field was one of the best of the year for a non-major and Tiger had the lead or a share of it for the majority of the week. He also hosted the tournament. So with all the hoopla surrounding the host, he still goes out a sets the standard for the week in an impressive field. On top of that, Woods had to play perfect down the stretch to avoid a playoff with Hunter Mahan. And, he did.
2. Tiger is just not as dominant as he was five years ago. But that doesn't mean he's still not the best player on the planet. And with apologies to everyone else on Tour, its still not even close. My biggest problem with the notion that Tiger needs to "step it up" is this- have people forgotten that he missed most of last year with a leg injury. Tiger may be great, but he's still human. He's only a year away from winning a U.S Open on what amounted to a shattered leg. That takes a little while to come back from. Call me a Tiger apologist, but the real story should be "wow!, he's won three tournaments in the first half of his first post leg surgery season." That's impressive enough for me.
I guess its just not "Tiger impressive"