Thursday, April 30, 2009

For the first time since Masters Sunday, all of golf's big names will be walking the same fairways and greens again. Makes me smile. It doesn't get much better than four rounds at Quail Hollow Club.
The erstwhile Wachovia Championship has it all -- a beautiful and tough course (though the rough is a bit more forgiving this year than in the past), a deep field, and a terrific closing stretch of holes. The 16th, 17th and 18th at the Players might get more attention, but the three finishers at Quail Hollow are every bit as brutal.
Please excuse me if my main focus on Thursday will be Tiger Woods, whose swing has come under as much scrutiny recently as it ever has. Pros (anonymously and not) are saying that Tiger's swing isn't where it should be at the top, that it's too flat, and that it's causing a two-way miss. Tiger missed a number of fairways by a mile at Augusta, but with the speed and power generated by his swing that will always be an issue he deals with. 
It's when he's locked in with the driver that he becomes nearly unbeatable. When he's not locked in, he simply wins by a shot or two (Bay Hill) or finishes top 10 (Masters).
The list of guys that can beat him though is as long as it's ever been. A few years ago, you only had guys like Phil, Vijay and Retief on that list. These days you throw in Padraig Harrington and Angel Cabrera and Geoff Ogilvy and more.
Tiger will still get his, but his road has never been tougher.

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