Tiger Woods may have pleasantly surprised television golf analysts Brandel Chamblee and Johnny Miller at the Masters, but Woods has a long way to go if he wants to dazzle them at the Players Championship next week.
“I thought he could probably have been sort of a sad sight at Augusta National,” Chamblee said of Woods’ eventual T17 finish at Augusta National this year during a NBC Sports teleconference. “I would put what he did there as almost surprising as what Jordan Spieth did. It was great. It was wonderful to watch.”
Fixing his short game wouldn’t be enough to counter all of the trouble he had off the tee at the Masters, Chamblee said, a problem that could be exposed at the Stadium Course. Woods finished the final round at Augusta with a 1-over 73, hitting just two of 14 fairways.
“He hit the fewest fairways he’s ever hit in his career at Augusta National,” Chamblee said. “He’s never driven it worse in his entire career than he drove it this year at Augusta. And only one time in his entire career has he ever ranked worse in greens in regulation.”
Chamblee allowed that Augusta was a place he could get away with errant drives and missing a little left or right, but at the Players? Not so:
“…if he hits the ball the way he did at Augusta at the Players, The Players will eat his lunch.”
For his part, Johnny Miller wondered if adjustments to Woods’ personality, in addition to his technique, would affect his game. Much of the golf world was pleasantly surprised to see a smiling, hugging and affectionate Woods on the practice greens and Par 3 Contest at Augusta.
“He’s a much softer person now,” said Miller. “His relationships matter to him, and he’s much friendlier. I’m not sure that’s great for his golf game, but it’s sure nice to see it. He’s become softer in his personal life. I don’t usually talk about the personal life, but I can see that he seems to be happier, which is great.”
Neither Miller or Chamblee were ready to give Woods the stamp of approval for success at the Players, despite his win over Sergio Garcia at the Stadium Course just two years ago. Miller quipped that he didn’t think Woods loved the course, and Chamblee said that anything could happen.
“I’m just happy that he is choosing to play there,” Chamblee said. “That’s great. It’ll certainly be wonderful to watch. But what he’s going to do? Flip a coin.”