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The GrunkleGuru

Grunkle is a slang term for the thick rough on a golf course that I have been using for many years. Given my penchant for inaccurate tee balls, I have become a bit of a guru out of the thick stuff, hence the name. This is a site for my random thoughts about sports (espeically golf) and life in general. While nothing special, it will hopefully offer a break from the daily drudgery for both you and me.

July 07, 2006

Tiger KO'd By The Flat Stick

Well, after the first round of the Cialis Western Open, Tiger Woods finds himself on the wrong side of the cut line again this year. I do think he will make the cut, but people are starting to wonder if there is something wrong with Tiger, and the answer is yes.

I’m not talking about the grieving process over the loss of his dad, though I am sure it has an effect on his play. I’m not talking about his new swing either. Two wins this year and a major last year prove that it is working fine. It isn’t even his attempt to gain more distance, though it is hard to score when you are buried in the rough. No, the problem lies with his formerly trusty flat stick.

In yesterdays first round, Tiger took 32 putts during his round, and average 1.923 putts per Green In Regulation (GIR). That my friend is not how you win golf tournaments. It is at least 3 total putts higher then it should be, and by averaging nearly two putts per GIR it means he is not making many birdies.

I realize that one round does not make a season, but this is something that has been going on all year. Through the first round of the Western, Tiger is averaging 1.807 putts per GIR while the tour average is 1.785. Tiger’s salvation comes in the fact that he is hitting nearly 70% of the greens in regulation meaning he has more opportunities then most players. If we go back to 2000, you can see that Tiger has never struggled this badly on the greens.

- 2006 – 1.807 putts / GIR
- 2005 – 1.731 putts / GIR (Rank: 5)
- 2004 – 1.724 putts / GIR (Rank: 2)
- 2003 – 1.732 putts / GIR (Rank: 10)
- 2002 – 1.766 putts / GIR (Rank: 83)
- 2001 – 1.775 putts / GIR (Rank: 102)
- 2000 – 1.717 putts / GIR (Rank: 1)

With the exception of 2001 & 2002, Tiger has always been an exceptional putter, and one of his greatest assets has been his ability to make the big putt. From all the way back in the U.S. Amateur when he drained that bomb on the 17th at Sawgrass, to the putt he made to force a playoff with Bob May at Valhalla in the PGA Championship, Tiger has always had the ability to make the putt when he had to. I just don’t see that this year.