Fatigue is Tiger’s big issue
Major champ Faldo pleased to see him back, but he does have reservations
WHILE South Africa will go “gaga” over Rory McIlroy when he tees up at the SA Open at Glendower from Thursday, the rest of the golfing world is waiting to see what Tiger Woods will do in 2017.
The multiple major winner returned to the game at the end of last year and is already ready to tee up again at the start of 2017, following more than a year out of the game following back surgery. Woods has had to tweak a few elements of his swing to compensate for the bad back and injuries that have robbed him of a healthy body and playing time and this, more than anything else, will be what ensures his return is successful or not in the coming months.
That’s the opinion of former multiple major winner and now familiar TV broadcaster Sir Nick Faldo, who’s in SA to promote his and friend Ernie Els’ amateur competition, the Friendship Cup, and play in the SA Open this week. He’s also seen Woods stumble, fall, crawl and get up over the last number of years.
“It’s great to see Tiger back in golf ... that’s what makes the game so great isn’t it; you always want to keep trying, believing you can do it,” said Faldo,
“But Tiger’s got some big issues; fatigue being the biggest one. He’s got to work out how he’s going to play when his back gets tired. It’s going to change his swing ... it already has because he’s obviously compensating for his back.
“The big thing for him is he has to get out there and play and find out what happens when his body gets tired, because if your body’s tired and it tightens up and you want to still be competitive you’ve got to find a way.
“The reality is Tiger can’t play the way he did 10 years ago, so he’s going to have to find a way to make it work for him when he starts feeling tired. I’m glad to see he’s entered a few tournaments. ”
But while Woods has a long way to go to get back to the top of the game, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson and Co are all poised to enjoy another good year.
“It’s a fascinating game isn’t it? All these boys ... when they’re all on, you can flip a coin (to pick a winner), but everyone has a weakness,” said Faldo, when asked who of the young generation has impressed him most over the last few years.
“So, when that weakness rears its ugly head; be it a physical issue, or a technical one, or whether it’s mental ... if one of those three elements which I regard as the most important to playing good golf, is just a tweak out, then you won’t be firing on all cylinders.
“That’s all it takes, and winning and being in top form, depends on who can cope with it the best ... that is when those weaknesses creep into your game.
“When these guys are on, they’re amazing, they’ve taken golf to another level ... golf is in a great place.”
But, Faldo also says he’s worried about how much the game has changed since the metal driver was introduced, having replaced the wooden driver.
“If I could change one thing it would be the driver. It’s changed the whole game. If we didn’t have metal woods we wouldn’t have an issue with the ball. There was a time when driving the ball was a real skill, there were only half a dozen guys out there who were really good drivers; now there are 199 great drivers, guys who with a half decent swing hit it 280m.”