US Open Golf 2012: Why This Is Tiger Wood's Tournament to Lose

on June 16 2012 1:16 PM
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods life came crashing down in Nov. 2009 when he lost control of his car, hitting a fire hydrant and a neighbor's tree after pulling out of his driveway in the early hours of the morning. Initially, reports covering the story said that the golfer's wife smashed the back window to get him out, saving his wife. Later, reports clarified that Woods was actually making a getaway from his angry wife, who had been striking the vehicle with the golf club after finding out about his affairs. Coverage on the accident turned the star golfer from victim to offender, as more evidence of his adultery was revealed. REUTERS

It may seem crazy to say, but the US Open is officially Tiger Wood's tournament to lose.

On Saturday morning, Woods has a share of the lead at (-1) with David Toms and Jim Furyk. He has been remarkably consistent, hitting 75 percent of fairways and 70 percent of greens in regulation.

If not for bogies at 5, 6 and 7 yesterday, Woods could have the whole tournament sewed up at this point.

Even without that three shot cushion, things look bleak for anyone not named Tiger Woods this weekend. Woods knows how to finish, especially when the pressure is elevated to that of a major.

In the nine majors in which he has had at least as share of the lead heading into the weekend, he has won eight. He has stared down Colin Montgomerie at the British Open, David Duval and Retif Goosen at the Masters. Tiger has edged Chris DiMarco in two different majors by a combined three strokes.

That all went away after the 2008 US Open. Woods shredded his knee in a playoff victory over Rocco Mediate and withdrew from the remainder of the season to have surgery.

He returned in 2009 and played well, but he did not win a major and he was not the same player he was before the knee injury. Just as it appeared he was rounding into form in late 2009, his marital infidelity came to light causing him to take another hiatus from golf.

Those two events, combined with his shaky play after getting back on the tour at the 2010 Masters, dropped him from world No. 1 status and made him appear beatable.

But there have finally been signs that the old Woods is back. Woods was impressive at the HSBC Championships in January, then had a lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational heading into Sunday. He held off Graeme McDowell on Sunday to claim his first win on tour since 2009.

In the Memorial just two weeks ago, Woods finally gave the vintage performance so many had been waiting for since 2008. He birdied three of the final four holes, including a jaw-dropping chip in on 16, to blow by Andres Romero and Rory Sabbatini for a two stroke victory.

So while there are 17 players within four shots of the lead, some of them former Open champions, they all need to figure out how to get past Woods, not the other way around.

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