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PGA Tour CONFIDENTIAL
MICHAEL BAMBERGER
May 09, 2011
Will the defections of Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood hurt the tournament? What can be learned from the Masters? Is Tiger out of the woods? Has the move to May worked out? And who is going to win the Players Championship?
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May 09, 2011

Pga Tour Confidential

Will the defections of Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood hurt the tournament? What can be learned from the Masters? Is Tiger out of the woods? Has the move to May worked out? And who is going to win the Players Championship?

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Bamberger: Don't you think it makes him more interesting?

Shipnuck: Without a doubt. The difference-maker for him was always the putter, but he hasn't been putting well for a while.

Anonymous Pro: That's right. Tiger relied on his putting to make up for a lot of bad ball striking in recent years. That's why I don't understand why he went to a putter that's harder to putt with, a putter with a face that releases even more. Most people go to putters with less face rotation, not more.

Van Sickle: He doesn't look comfortable over the ball. He looks like a guy hoping to make a five-footer instead of a guy who absolutely, positively knows he's going to pour it in.

Shipnuck: With the turmoil in his private life, is his putting suffering from neglect or has something changed forever? He has to start making putts before I'll believe he's back.

Garrity: Tiger has a kind of pressure now that he hasn't faced in a while. Until he wins again, it's going to be like chasing his first victory. You can't get rid of those doubts until you bag one.

Anonymous Pro: The two most important clubs in the bag are his two biggest weaknesses—the driver and the putter. His long game is getting better, but he's still gun-shy with his driver. I watched him at Bay Hill, and he's still hitting a ton of three-woods. He's not longer than everyone else off the tee anymore, and his putter isn't what it was. Until one of those clubs comes back, he isn't going to win a major.

Hack: The Masters showed me that Tiger is going to win again. It's a new world order, all these kids can bang it past him, so it's going to be harder. He has to win in a different way.

Van Sickle: What happened to golf's best short game? The fact that Tiger has changed putters and stances tells me he has deeper, more serious problems than we think.

Shipnuck: Actually, Hank Haney dropped a mini bombshell in one of his recent interviews. He said Tiger's work ethic has slipped. The last three years, Hank said, Tiger didn't work nearly as hard. We all had this belief that Tiger was in a lab somewhere at midnight improving his game while everyone else was sleeping. We now know that Tiger was doing other things at midnight. If he's not going to dig it out of the dirt like he did, that's going to make it even harder because Rory McIlroy is working on his putting, and so are Luke Donald and Jason Day and Rickie Fowler and dozens of other highly motivated players.

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