When Monday office workers last watched Tiger Woods streaming digitally onto their desktops, he was fending off Rocco Mediate in the
2008 U.S. Open playoff. There was no Rocco in Tiger’s way
this time at the Farmers Insurance Open. Just an absurdly
slow pace that led to a ragged finish and an unfortunate
diminishment of what was a vintage Woods performance, a
four-stroke win over Brandt Snedeker and Josh Teater.
Compared to ’08 when he hobbled around the same South
Course, Woods had the use of two healthy legs but had since
muddied the waters of history with a self-imposed swing
change, a personal crisis and more injury issues. Even the
short game that always made him so much more brilliant
than his peers suffered as he reworked his swing, yet reappeared with frequent radiance at Torrey Pines, where he
long ago won six Junior Worlds.
On display until the final holes was the impressive distance and accuracy advantage he has been predicting would
come with the swing he has overhauled with instructor Sean
“I don’t know if anyone would have beaten him this week,”
said Nick Watney, who played with Woods during the first
two rounds and briefly closed within five during the final
round before fading to a T- 4 finish.
Tiger’s biggest obstacle this time came in the form of
painfully slow play. To complete the Monday
portion of their fourth round, Woods, Casey
Wittenberg and Billy Horschel took three
hours and 45 minutes to play 11 holes. By
contrast, Woods’ 19-hole U.S. Open play-
off with Mediate lasted four hours and 33
his earlier sharp
play but didn’t
cost him victory.
StePhen dUnn/Getty ImaGeS