Tour Confidential Daily: Does the inclement weather predicted for Royal Portrush already eliminate Tiger from contention?

July 17, 2019

Every night of major weeks, the GOLF.com team takes on the most pressing question of the day. Tonight, on the eve of the Open Championship, we discuss Tiger Woods and his chances at Royal Portrush with an ominous weather forecast on the horizon.

Tiger Woods said at the U.S. Open that “when it’s cold like this everything is achy; it’s just part of the deal.” Does the inclement weather predicted for Royal Portrush already eliminate Tiger Woods from contention?

Dylan Dethier, associate editor (@Dylan_Dethier): There’s been a lot of dismissive chatter like this around the media center, but I’m not so sure. Playing weatherman, I think his late/early tee time split gives him a slight advantage over the field at large, which is a boost. And if the weather is horrible, it’s going to be horrible for everyone else, too. I’m not selling all my Woods stock — but I’m certainly not buying, either.

Sean Zak, associate editor (@sean_zak): I think the weather being consistently meh all week just means no one will run away with it. The winning score shouldn’t be too low, which should help Tiger hang around, but I don’t think he can win. Grind out a couple near-par rounds to make the cut, but never really contend. Of course, we’ll see most of his shots regardless, so it’ll feel like he’s contending.

Jeff Ritter, digital development editor (@Jeff_Ritter): Do we really know if Tiger’s healthy? Is he rusty? Does Tiger even know? He has the shotmaking and links savvy to hang around, even in bad weather, but usually when Tiger shows up at an event prepared to win, he says things like, “I’m here to win.” I don’t think this is the week he bags major championship No. 16.

Josh Sens, contributor (@JoshSens): My feeling about press room chatter is that the more uniform it is, the more wrong it is likely to be. That said, the increasingly forthright Tiger is not sounding like a man brimming with confidence. Maybe he’s playing possum, but I don’t think so. I like him to make the cut, but not to make a hard run at the jug.

Alan Bastable, executive editor (@alan_bastable): If the weather stays crummy, I’d be surprised if he contends. Conditions did not cooperate at Bethpage and Pebble and we know how those weeks worked out for Woods. “When it’s cold like this,” he said at Pebble, “everything is achy.” Props to Brian Costa at the Wall Street Journal, who dug up this revealing stat: “In average temperatures below 65 degrees since the start of 2017, Woods has an average finish of 46th place, with three missed cuts.”

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer (@AlanShipnuck): Tiger is rarely honest about his health or body so who knows? He is more fresh than any other would-be contender, so that has to help as this turns into a cold, rainy slog. The proof will be in his swing, not press conference platitudes, so we shall see.

Jonathan Wall, equipment editor (@jonathanrwall): I was out on Tiger contending before the weather rolled in. He hasn’t logged a single tournament round since the U.S. Open — and that was one month ago. Trying to get in game shape the week of a major championship is like cramming for the SAT a couple of days before the exam. Sure, you might be able to pull it off. But odds are you’re going to crash and burn more often than not. Look at the PGA Championship. The cold, damp weather and Tiger’s comments on Tuesday that his game isn’t “quite as sharp as I’d like to have it right now” make him a hard pass this week.

Luke Kerr-Dineen, instruction editor (@LukeKerrDineen): Tiger’s a warm-weather player. He basically said that himself at Pebble, but it’s not the sole reason Tiger looks so likely to have a down tournament this week. Tiger’s still tired from his Masters win, he’s rusty because he’s been skipping tournaments trying to recover, but still feeling overworked with the hectic schedule. His back, as we know, is constantly hovering between decent and below average. The miserable weather doesn’t cause these problems, but it compounds them.