Three weeks after he won his 5th green jacket and his 15th major, Tiger Woods is still the talk of the town. And you can probably expect it to go on for… I don’t know, forever? After all, it’s arguably the biggest comeback ever in the history of sports.
Unfortunately, in the midst of discussions about Tiger’s greatness, there’s the occasional ignorant jab at Francesco Molinari who was the 54-hole leader.
Honestly, I have nothing to gain by what I’m about to say. Molinari doesn’t know me. And he’s probably moved on. But it just really bugs me when I hear people who’ve never played competitive golf at a high level say that he choked.
Yes, he made a double bogey after hitting his tee shot in the water on the par 3 12th. But it’s one of the most difficult holes for the field that Sunday. Three other players in the final two groups hit the water. Tiger had so much respect for that hole that he hit his tee shot 50 feet left of the flag (and almost paid for it actually).
Molinari also made a double bogey on the par 5 15th after his pitch shot ricocheted off a pine cone and into the water. If only his ball flew an inch to the left or right, it would’ve stayed dry. And Tiger wouldn’t have enjoyed a two-shot cushion going into the last hole.
And if there’s any doubt about Molinari’s short game abilities, check out this Instagram post from his short game coach.
And it’s not as if Molinari’s back nine was a complete disaster. He still made birdies on 13 and 17.
Oh, and let’s not forget… when Molinari won the Britsh Open in 2018, he was paired with Tiger in the final round. So to imply that the pressure got to him is just ridiculous.
I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing or just the influence of local media. Because when you read how they report on golfing events, it sounds like nobody can succeed without someone else stumbling, fumbling, crumbling, faltering, fading, etc.
I doubt if any journalist will read this. But juuust in case. I get it… you want a good story. The question is… are you sure it’s true? Even if there’s a remote chance that you’re right, don’t you think that kind of judgment is left for someone who has more omniscient abilities? Like God? Can’t someone win simply because he played better than everyone else that particular week?
Anyway… enough of my ranting.
What doesn’t get enough attention in the aftermath of Tiger’s victory is the fact that he won this major without a full-time coach at his side. I know he won the Tour Championship in 2018. But that was an event with a limited field.
In case you didn’t know, Tiger parted ways with Chris Como in December 2017. And this was Tiger’s official statement: “Since my fusion surgery I’ve been working hard to relearn my own body and golf swing. For now, it’s best for me to continue to do this on my own. I’m grateful to Chris Como for his past work, and I have nothing but respect for him.”
Some would interpret the split as a sign that the relationship didn’t work out the way it’s supposed to. I think it’s a sign that it DID work out. Remember, Como was officially a consultant… not a coach. Como did his job well. So well that Tiger didn’t need him by his side anymore.
Either that or Tiger’s not telling us the whole truth.