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Grouchy Golf Blog

Sunday, March 29, 2009 at 8:42 PM

Sally Jenkins' Premature Prognostication

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine emailed me an article written by Sally Jenkins about Tiger Woods' post injury return to golf.

What shocked me most about this article was the writer's prematurely drawn conclusions about Tiger's golf game. Just read this passage:
But so far, Woods's comeback has been a relatively humdrum event...After an eight-month layoff to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, Woods missed dozens of putts and seemed frustrated by the slow pace of the whole affair. All of which was a reminder that the injury is a clear demarcation in his competitive life: He's now 33 years old and in the last third of his career, and while he surely has a lot of greatness left, the game may no longer come so easily.
At the time that the article was published, Tiger had been out of competitive golf for almost 9 months and had logged fewer than 6 competitive rounds, 2 of which were match-play shortened and didn't require putting out. That's right, the writer believes that this sample size is sufficient to derive meaningful conclusions. Anyone who plays golf regularly at any level knows about the fickleness of golf and how maddeningly long it can take to recover one's form after a sustained layoff. Just because Tiger is a little rusty, it certainly doesn't mean that he's lost his game. To make that kind of jump is just regoddamndiculous!

Yet the writer has seen enough to proclaim, "For the first time in a decade, Woods will enter the Masters at Augusta National as something less than the clear-cut favorite." Oh brother!

But it doesn't stop there. The writer later suggests that Tiger may never recover his putting touch:
Oddly, the thing that seems most affected by the long layoff is not his swing...but his putting...But his trouble was perhaps a glimpse of what to expect when he gets older: Other greats who were nervy, aggressive putters, such as Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson, saw their touch desert them in their mid-30s, and struggled to ever make short putts again.
All golfers know that putting is one of those things that is highly variable over the short term. The fact that Tiger's putting game was off for 6 rounds is hardly surprising. The writer seems to have forgotten that Mickelson's putting blew all year until he won at Riviera. Tiger is arguably the greatest clutch putter of all-time and I'm sure that he'll regain his putting sooner rather than later. Oh, and don't believe the writer. Tiger is the clear-cut favorite at Augusta.

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Anonymous Dion said...

I hope she knows more about other sports. Good site BTW.  

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Anonymous Pebbleby15 said...

TW just silenced his critics with the win at Bay Hill, where he ws T2 in putts per GIR and averaged an amazing 1.5000 puts per GIR on Sunday.

Sally, the putting stroke is fine.

Keep in mind who delivered the message in this ridonculous article - a seldom read USA Today reporter who peaked during the Nancy Kerrigan - Tonya Harding saga but has slowly eroded into obscurity and unimportance on the sports media scene.

I think Jenkins always thought she was a female Costas, but apparently no one shared that view.

The article migh carry more weight if it came from Jaime Diaz or even the goofy Tim Rosaforte, but it comes from a dinosaur, mediocre sportswriter.

Time to move on.  

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Anonymous mediaguru @ hookedongolfblog.com said...

Clearly not a wise thing to do, making such statements.

Tiger just needed to be back in the heat of battle to get "it" back. He's got it back.

A few are really going crazy about how few putts he had at Bay Hill. Keep in mind part of that is because he missed roughly 50 freakin' percent of his greens and has a mad short game.  

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Blogger Bobbio said...

She can worry about Tiger. I'll worry about Woody Austin.  

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Blogger Patricia said...

A would tend to take agolf writer's proclamation about Tiger's putting with a grain of salt.  

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....  

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Blogger k8 said...

this is a great site....i'm looking for some writers to contribute content to our blog. hit me up if you are interested.  

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Blogger Matt said...

I read this article as well when it came out, however, it was not a shock at all to read what Jenkins wrote. She is completely clueless!

I've read many of her other articles and she is usually clueless on other sports as well. I'm not quite sure if she is watching the same events as everyone else on planet earth.  

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Blogger Potjie said...

Last 2 majors - Tiger doesnt make cut in one, and loose for the first time after having a 3d round lead, maybe this woman know something!  

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