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PGA Tour CONFIDENTIAL
MICHAEL BAMBERGER
August 02, 2010
IS LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN THE REAL DEAL? WHAT'S WRONG WITH TIGER NOW? WHAT KIND OF TEST WILL WHISTLING STRAITS OFFER, AND WHO WILL WIN THE SEASON'S FINAL MAJOR? WE CONVENED A PANEL OF SI GOLF EXPERTS—SENIOR WRITERS MICHAEL BAMBERGER, DAMON HACK, ALAN SHIPNUCK AND GARY VAN SICKLE, AS WELL AS SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR JOHN GARRITY—AND A PGA TOUR PLAYER (WHO PARTICIPATED ON CONDITION OF ANONYMITY) TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS AND MORE
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August 02, 2010

Pga Tour Confidential

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Shipnuck: Tiger's swing is in transition, his putting stroke is breaking down, his life is a mess. I don't think anybody starts making more putts after they hit 35. A year ago it was a given that he'd break the record. I'm not so sure anymore.

Anonymous Pro: I never doubted he'd catch Jack until this point. Now I'm doubting. Tiger is supremely talented. I think he'll find it. But right now, he's farther away than ever. If you lose your putting, it sours your whole game. Look at Sergio García. Before, everyone figured Tiger for 22 majors. Now he'll be lucky to get to 18 or 19.

Hack: I used to think Tiger would win 25 majors. Now I'm thinking the high teens, maybe 20. Tiger has done nothing to inspire confidence of late, but once he wins again, and he will, the dam will burst. It's going to be a heck of a struggle, though. There are a lot of young guys who hit it long and high and aren't afraid of him—never will be.

Van Sickle: Tiger is smart enough to fix his game. You're seeing results with his swing already.

Shipnuck: You can't outsmart putting problems, though. There's never been a smarter golfer than Tom Watson, one of the best putters in the world in his prime, and look what happened to him.

Bamberger: I don't agree. Tiger's putting excellence, unlike Ben Crenshaw's and Watson's, began with an absolutely, technically beautiful stroke. He was not just a putting savant. Tiger's putter was perfectly on line, perfect technique. It was all technique. Because of that, it's recoverable.

Shipnuck: He needs five majors to break the record. That's how many majors Seve Ballesteros won. It has taken Phil his entire career to win four. Five is a big number.

Bamberger: The PGA is the easiest major for Tiger to win. He's got four of them already. I always thought Tiger would win six or seven PGAs. Tiger has 21 more majors in his 30s. If he picks off one every other year for six years, that's three more. Then he's still got all of his 40s. No, we'll probably never see Tiger as the dominant, take-your-breath-away player again. But he can come down a full grade level and still be a player who wins a major every few years.

Van Sickle: I don't know, Tiger is out of gimme major sites. No Pebble Beach until '19, no St. Andrews again until '15 or possibly '17 and no Medinah.

Garrity: Don't worry. Tiger's year has been a bust, but his swing looks better, and he's had a few sparks of brilliance. As soon as he fixes his putting, which is a simple tempo problem he can figure out by reading Tour Tempo (page G16), he should get back on track to break Jack's record. His final tally? I don't know. I'm not Carnac the Magnificent.

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