Tiger Woods had won the Bridgestone Invitational seven times, and never finished worse than fourth place before this year. Then, we were forced to watch an 18-over, tied for 78th place abomination. If this is any barometer of Tiger's dedication to the game of golf, or level of play for that matter, all of us still in the Tiger Woods camp are in for a miserable season. That said, let's try and take a look at some of the positive things Tiger can still try to achieve by the end of the 2010 season.
FIX SHORT GAME: The first thing Tiger Woods needs to do in order to turn his season, and possibly his career, back around is to fix what ails his short game. We are used to seeing shots like this, this, and this from Tiger. Now, his chipping is straight up lousy, his approach shots are missing the green, and he is three-putting from inside of 20 feet. His short game is the first thing he needs to work on if he wants to be competitive again. When we start to see Tiger draining some long putts and sticking shots from the fairway close, then a turnaround might be imminent.
QUALIFY FOR FEDEX CUP PLAYOFFS: Right now, Tiger sits at 119th in FedEx Cup points. Only the top 125 qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs, so this would seem like a reasonable goal for Tiger to try to achieve. He might need to participate in an extra event, but a little competitive spirit might do him some good.
MAKE THE RYDER CUP TEAM: Corey Pavin has got a very difficult decision on his hands. How do you justify selecting Tiger Woods for the Ryder Cup when he has played so lousy this year? Or, how do you justify not selecting the #1 ranked golfer in the world and someone who shines brightest under the most pressure? It's a very tough call; but I think that over the next few weeks, Tiger needs to prove that he is worthy of playing on the Ryder Cup team this year. The only way he does this is by completing the first two tasks on this list.
Going into the PGA Championship, I expect nothing of Tiger. This is unfortunate for Glenn and me because we will actually be in attendance for the event, but we will find other ways to cause trouble. Tiger just needs to focus on one thing at a time, and continue to progress. If he can fix his short game, he can qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs. If he can qualify for the playoffs, he might be able to make the Ryder Cup team. If he can do that, watch out because Tiger thrives on pressure. PGA Championship preview coming soon.