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Woods needs consistency to challenge for majors

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Iain Carter | 20:06 UK time, Sunday, 29 January 2012

Following up a low round with another is one of the hardest tasks in professional golf.

In his pomp it was one of Tiger Woods's many strengths and it helped set him apart from the rest.

This is no longer the case, as he showed in his comparatively ragged finish to the Abu Dhabi Championship on Sunday, when he surrendered a share of the overnight lead to finish joint third.

Woods's disappointing closing 72 was nothing new and continued a trend that has been a feature of his game for the last couple of years.

During his near faultless 66 in the third round, commentators and pundits claimed we now had confirmation that the 14-time major champion was back to his best. It was a premature assessment.

Tiger Woods plays a shot from a bunker

Woods faded in the final round at Abu Dhabi to finish joint third overall. Photo: AP

Similar sentiments were expressed at the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach, when Woods was brilliant in a third-round 66, only to follow it with a 75 that left him with a share of fourth place.

In the Masters the same year he followed a second-round 66 with a 74, then at Bay Hill a fine Friday 68 preceded a dispiriting Saturday 74.

More recently, in finishing third at the Australian Open at the end of last year, opening rounds of 68 and 67 were followed by a 75.

Even when he won his own limited field World Challenge he was six strokes worse the day after his second-round 67 put him in control of the tournament.

These scoring patterns suggest he is as vulnerable as most players to the peaks and troughs of a tournament week.

But the form line remains encouraging because, since finally declaring himself free of injury concerns, he has finished in the top three in his last three strokeplay events.

Even though the control of the first 54 holes was lacking over the final round in Abu Dhabi, it was clear Woods's swing has become technically sound, and there is little doubt he will be in the mix this year to add to his tally of 14 majors.

"He just hit it a little bit out of position off the tee," Abu Dhabi champion Robert Rock told BBC Sport after admirably fending off a Woods challenge which was undermined by hitting only five greens in regulation.

"If you are in the rough you don't have the control you would like, so, whether you are swinging well or not, from the rough it is just a bit of a hack out."

Rock, a self-confessed golf swing "nerd", was still impressed with Woods's action. "He hit some very good three woods off the tee which were very impressive - low fades, which is a shot I think he has been working on," he said. "They looked brilliant.

"He's well on the way to playing like he used to - probably better."

Robert Rock

Abu Dhabi champion and Staffordshire-born Robert Rock admires Tiger's rebuilt swing. Photo: Getty

Woods does look increasingly comfortable under the tutelage of Sean Foley.

"A year ago I didn't have the knowledge about what Sean was trying to get me to do," the former world number one told us in Abu Dhabi.

"Right now I'm able to shape the ball both ways and change my trajectory along the way, so I'm headed in the right direction."

Those comments came after his third-round 66. Sustaining momentum from such scoring is now Woods's challenge because, as Rock proved, it is possible to stand up to the modern day Tiger even when you are ranked 117 in the world.

The Englishman, meanwhile, can build on this victory and force his way into the world's top 50.

It is a genuinely heart-warming story that should encourage all aspiring teaching pros because that is exactly what Rock was less than a decade ago.

"It seems a long, long way when you are in that position and if you look at it as one big leap it doesn't seem possible," Rock said.

"It's not the easiest way to do it. Working at golf clubs seems like you would be playing a lot of golf, but you don't.

"But if you go along the right routes and have a plan for it, then it is do-able."

Woods never went through the process of teaching hackers and selling them chocolate bars; he just played and learned the art of winning at every level as he rose to the top.

Now he is trying to rescale those heights and, although he won on his last outing before Abu Dhabi, it seems he still has a way to go to rediscover the killer touch of old when it comes to full-field events.

That is no disgrace given the strength in depth of the modern game, and Woods's bid to return to his dominant ways provides us with one of the most compelling storylines of the 2012 season.

The last time he backed up a genuinely low round with another was when he finished 65-65 to win the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in 2009.

When he does it again we will be able to use the "he's back" phrase with a great deal more certainty.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Rock was solid and deserving.
    Miclroy strong mental bounce back after sand penalty
    Woods coming third in the field he was in... impressive.
    Donald blip
    Westwood?

  • Comment number 2.

    I think the fact he played so poorly tee to green yet still contended tells you everything. His scrambling was sensational. He also holed a number of clutch par putts which was encouraging. He is lacking tournament sharpness which will come over time. As long as he stays healthy i feel Tiger and Rory will dominate golf this year. They are by far and away the best two player on the planet in terms of natural ability. Rory is perhaps better however seems to lack the killer instinct. He should win so many more tournaments than he does.

    Fair play to Rock, terrific effort.

  • Comment number 3.

    What a completely uninspiring piece of journalism yet again. Taking the easy route of Tiger bashing before finally acknowleding the fulfilling story of Robert Rock. Just imagine if Tiger had the audacity to finish the tournament in 48th like Luke Donald, imagine the uproar then!

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm beginning to think that even had Tiger shot 59 on the final day Iain would find a way to spin it into a negative story.

    But I knew this was coming as soon as Tiger's announcement to play in Abu Dhabi was reported on the BBC as some sort of greedy money chasing exercise when we are all perfectly aware that every top golfer gets an appearance fee wherever they play. I'd of thought we should be welcoming Tiger with open arms to a European tour event anyway??

    A better article would have first of all commended Rock - great performance, great hair. Then Tiger. Perhaps scolded wee mac for another moment of silliness costing him the title. And then certainly highlighted that Luke failed to perform once again when forced toe to toe with the likes of Woods and Mcilroy. Hard to believe he was number one watching that 3 ball on the first couple of days. The only surprise for me was that he didn't shoot a low score on the final day when it meant nothing so that he snuck into the top 10 and we could then all listen in wonder to how consistent he is.

  • Comment number 5.

    I have to say I would have thought I would have logged into the BBC website this morning, reading a blog with a bit more encouragment, towards the form shown by Woods over the weekend. However I do repsect your views Mr Carter given his last round failings in previous tournaments.

    It is difficult to judge a golfer and his form after he has been out of the game for so long. Golf is not like Football, Tennis and Rugby, you can't just return and be your old self, it takes time.

    I think we saw enough at the weekend to suggest the old Tiger is returning, certainly tee - green. 100% agree with a previous comment about tournament sharpness, I think we saw that with his putting, if he had been a bit sharper on the greens over the first few days he would have won.

    Anyway looking forward to seeing if Rory, Luke and Lee can deal with an on-song Tiger over 4 days in a major.

    Bring on the Masters!

  • Comment number 6.

    Don't see the problem here... the blog is pretty accurate in so much as - yes - Tiger is still struggling to string good rounds together. If you're a fan than maybe it's hard to hear but don't shoot the messenger.
    Don't like the guy myself so I'm sure I'd have written it with similar negative overtones. Of course, you fans can put some positive spin on it if you like.
    OK so Donald and Westwood were off the pace... DC missed the cut - should we take his 'jug' away?
    Golf operates over a 2 year cycle which is why LD is #1... he won't be in contention every week so snide comments just show you up to be ignorant or biased (or both).

  • Comment number 7.

    #3 Chris wrote: "What a completely uninspiring piece of journalism yet again. Taking the easy route of Tiger bashing before finally acknowleding the fulfilling story of Robert Rock. Just imagine if Tiger had the audacity to finish the tournament in 48th like Luke Donald, imagine the uproar then!"

    Couldn't agree more, the improvement of tiger woods in the last few months has been immense. Victory here would obviously have cemented this point further but there is no denying he is getting back to something like the tiger woods we were used to seeing. The thing that gets me is the guy finished third and was unlucky in a final round of par not to go on and win it, he didn't exactly blow up. CONTINUED…

  • Comment number 8.

    CONTINUED… This article however should have been titled "journeyman to Superman" and all the credit should be placed with Robert Rock. An absolute david and goliath story that had me wondering (if he could finish the job) all the way to the tap in at the 18th. A wonderful achievement and i was thrilled he kept his nerve.

    A great tournament that was tight at the top the whole way through, Woods in form and a late surge from Mcilroy and co made for great viewing, meanwhile the lad who once sold lessons and chocolate in his local golf club quitely minded his work to pip them at the post, you couldn't of wrote it any better.......

  • Comment number 9.

    cfcboy23

    "Don't like the guy myself so I'm sure I'd have written it with similar negative overtones"

    talk about defeating your own argument - brilliant!!!!

  • Comment number 10.

    cfcboy

    I don't like Tiger either, but I think given the nature of Golf and how hard it is to get back to playing well after injuries/poor form I think it is a bit premature to say Tiger can't string 4 good rounds together, he has the Australian Open, Presidents Cup, Chevron and now the HSBC since fully returning from injury. I think the blog should have been about Mr Rock as someone said in a previous comment.

    I don't really understand, your golf is a two year cycle quote, are you saying players come and go over a two year period?

  • Comment number 11.

    ~10:

    What the poster said is factually correct- The points that count towards your world ranking are based are only counted from the last two years- basically speaking you earn points, which keep their 'full value' for the next 12 months, whilst after that they steadily start to decrease in value, until after 2 years they don't count toward your total anymore. Your total points from the two year cycle is then divided by the number of events played in that time. That's a very basic way of describing it (there is a minimum 'divisor' for instance which affects people like TW who only play a limited schedule), but that's why the 'two year cycle' view holds.

  • Comment number 12.

    Thank you #11 for expaining my "2 year" comment.

    PG... ahem, not exactly. I may be biased but I wouldn't resort to this...
    "Hard to believe he was number one watching that 3 ball on the first couple of days. The only surprise for me was that he didn't shoot a low score on the final day when it meant nothing so that he snuck into the top 10 and we could then all listen in wonder to how consistent he is."

  • Comment number 13.

    An English golfer wins a huge tournament with some of the worlds best players and yet the entire crux of the blog centres on TW? I don't dislike the guy and yes he's still one of the biggest sports stars in the world, but surely a blog titled on and centred around one of our own would be more justified???

  • Comment number 14.

    Yes, it is really strange that the EBC didn't go all out to celebrate an Englishman winning a tournament with one of the best fields Europe will see all season. The fact that he did it when Clarke, Kaymer, Quiros all missed the cut and he was under extreme pressure from Woods, McIlroy, Bjorn, Lawrie et al makes it a great achievement. Many contributors to this blog regularly run RR down but he has finally proved he has a great game. Hansens total capitulation under the pressure of a final day spot with Woods just shows how good Rock was - so much harder to stand up and fight it out than to give in and fade away.
    His resolve when his lead was cut to 1 was great to see and his shot making over the last few holes was worthy of a winner - even being able to take a drop on 18 and almost holing for par. Well done to Robert & his caddy!

  • Comment number 15.

    BTW, agree that Ian Carter could have done much better with his report. One wonders if he actually watched the final round?

  • Comment number 16.

    As for TW's performance - still a little shaky and obviously needs more "down the stretch" game time to get used to it again, but if this is how he performs and finishes a tournament while he is still a little ring rusty then what is he going to be like after a proper full season under his belt again!! He will be in contention in every tournament he plays in and no doubt he will be knocking on the doors of majors once again!

    His inclusion in any tournament adds that extra buzz that golf will be glad to welcome

  • Comment number 17.

    As for the best of the rest: Luke Donald with a slow start on a golf course he should play well on, but remember last year he did not play well until end of february so I don't think we can read much into this considering his performance last year!

    Rory Mac again showed he has the swing to compete against the best, one silly mistake which I don't think a lot of people would know about cost him a tournament.

    Westwood I believe was not in the best of health but if he putts anything like he is going to be a threat in every tournament.

    Looks like its going to be an exciting year...as for Kyle Stanley, what a plonker!

  • Comment number 18.

    Right!!! Im Back!! I cant listen to Iain Carters constant putting down of Tiger anymore!! Iain i follow you on twitter and quite liked your coverage of the tournament this weekend, but why (and i want a reply if possible) do you never give Tiger credit when it's due!?! He only had one good round?? The guy show a bogeyless 70 in the first round 5 birdies & 2 bogeys 69 in the 2nd round and 6 birdies in another bogeyless 66 in the 3rd round! Yes fair enough it was a poor display yesterday but considering he only hit 5 GIR and 2 fairways in 18 holes i think even par was outstanding, anyone else would have shot +10. Tiger is deffo back and ask any player out there at the weekend (especially Rors) and they will confirm this!

  • Comment number 19.

    Robert Rock - Great Player and Great Hair. Fair play to mickysausage ( hope he comes back ) for always saying Robert Rock is a great player, he's been proved right again.
    Once again the bottlers Donald and Westwood fall away when the proper talents of McIlroy and Woods are in the field.

  • Comment number 20.

    cfcboy23

    But I like Luke Donald!! I met him once in Edinburgh airport on a Sunday evening as the Open was drawing to close. We were on the same flight to London and I was following the closing holes on my phone. He asked me to keep him posted and seemed a thoroughly nice guy - since then I've been a fan. This is the whole point. He is a nice guy and is probably very friendly and open with Carter and the other hacks. He therefore gets an easier ride.

    What frustrates most regular readers of Iain's blogs is that they smack of personal antipathy towards Tiger and this prevents any balanced analysis. We get it, you dont like the guy. Frankly I couldn't give a monkey's what he is like personally, I just like watching him play golf and it'd be nice read unbiased articles about his performances.

    Regarding the 2 year ranking debate, as has been said a million times before, the ranking system tells us who is the most consistent golfer - not necessarily who is the best. Winning is all that matters to the top guys. Top 10 finishes mean next to nothing. The criticism of Luke (and it is constructive because most people would love to see him win a major) is that he naturally appears to try and consolidate 4th or 5th rather than go hell for leather and try and get 1st. Such an approach may keep you at the top of the rankings but wont convince the doubters that you're the best.

  • Comment number 21.

    Hey guys, hope you have all coped without me, i have been busy helping a certain man from Lichfield with his driving and putting game, i have been keeping tabs on this blog whilst i have been away and Iain Carter needs to get a grip of his constant abuse of Tiger Woods, i would rant but i have noticed the Sorcerer as beat me to it, well said the sorcerer. The thing is Tiger needed to play a bit more like my good friend Rob in the last round, nice easy drives and simple iron shots. If you look back 10 blogs i tipped Rob for stardom and after a few tweeks in his game he as proved me right! So JeffKenna and Mickyweir i demand an apology. I think we may see Rob Rocks name on the Clarett Jug this year!

  • Comment number 22.

    I really dont see how this blog is Anti Tiger Woods. The man is judged by different standards to everyone else. He is judged by the standards that he set himself between 1997 - 2009, which I imagine also by the standards that he no doubt sets for himself now.

    That means having the ability not just to play 4 good rounds, but then to follow it up with 4 more the next week, and the week after. As yet just doing it once is alluding him.
    It means not losing out to a guy ranked outside the top 100 when going head to head in the final round.
    It means not losing your swing under the pressure of winning an event (which 5 out of 18 GIR suggests.
    More than that it means winning tournaments.

    He isnt quite doing it at the moment, I suspect that in time he will.

  • Comment number 23.

    I think its harsh to say Luke consolidates, when he won the Disney event he signed up because he had to win the stay atop the US money list, he didn't go over there for a top 10!

    However what I do think there is some truth in is that Luke approaches every tournament the same, whereas a lot of the top golfers have the majors at the centre of their calendars and its only really about those 4 weeks, so Donald turns up on non-major events and is more hyped to win, but at majors he doesnt necessarily up the ante like the other boys

  • Comment number 24.

    PG, the reason why ranking are a reasonable (not flawless) indicator is they're the same for evryone! Finish higher up the leaderboard? Get more points! Play against a harder field? Get more points! You can't by critical of LD being Number 1 by some kind of statistical flukem whilst at the same time not being critical of his rivals for not similairly being able to take advantadge.
    I am prepared to accept that even now LD's golf would not have been good enough to rank above TW, Phil, Ernie, even Sergio at their absolute best. But none of ther above are playing at their best(Ernie still isn't in the Masters field yet, IIRC) whilst the up and coming players suc as McIlroy, Kaymer, Bradley, Simpson, johnson etc. still arean't playing at a good enough level week in, week out. Does the OWGR show that there is no one outstanding player in world golf at the moment? In my opinion, yes. Does it mean LD doesn't deserve to be top of this bunch? I can't think of a plyer any more deserving
    Amnd as for your coment: "The criticism of Luke (and it is constructive because most people would love to see him win a major) is that he naturally appears to try and consolidate 4th or 5th rather than go hell for leather and try and get 1st." Did you see him at the final PGA Tour event last year? Needed to play the back 9 in next to nothing to take both the title and the PGA Money list and did so! And all this, whilst the home crowd were, I suspect. rooting for the 'home boy' Webb Simpson!

  • Comment number 25.

    Tiger was a class act all week. Only some errant tee shots stopped him winning that event. With that sort of Golf he's going to win Majors this year.

  • Comment number 26.

    mickysausage!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOOOOOORAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

  • Comment number 27.

    cfcboy23 you obviously didnt watch the first 2 rounds? Luke Donald (our world number 1) was well out of his depth and league playing against Tiger and Rory and i would put my money on that being the case in every big tournament that these 3 players play in all year! (all being fit and healthy mind) Tiger can play an awful round of golf in the 4th round yesterday and still shoot Par! Donald wins the low key ranking events and when it comes to the big ones were the worlds best are all in one place, im afraid our Luke and Lee cant mix it!

  • Comment number 28.

    i would like to hear from mattefc, Sumo82 and powerhitter.

  • Comment number 29.

    @27 mickysausage...where you been man? Boys have been screaming on here to get you back! Golfnut99 seems to be your #1 Fan!

  • Comment number 30.

    Oh leave it out Mickey... same old same old. Westwood came second to an inspired Mickelson at the Masters. That is mixing it - fact!

  • Comment number 31.

    Glad to see some familiar faces back on the blogs, couldnt remember who it was who used to harp on about Robert Rock, mickeysausage i salute you sir!! great tip and a deserved winner.......

    I just hope you backed him?? :-/

  • Comment number 32.

    was absolutely buzzing for Rock yesterday. He comes across as such an affable, unassuming bloke and his performance yesterday was very good. as an earlier poster pointed out, Hansen's capitulation shows just how impressive Rock's performance was. It can't be easy concentrating when you've got Tiger on your back, but he dealt with it with minimal fuss and a very solid round of golf. Been a Rock fan for a while and it's good to see him mixing it with the big boys. Was a strong field and he held them all off.

    Hope for big things from him.

    On a side note, it was actually good to see Tiger Woods back in the mix and up there near the top of the leaderboard. While I'm not a big fan of him, you can't deny he is a legend of the sport and you want to see the best players performing to the best of their ability. I do feel that the Sky commentators seemed to concentrate more on what Woods was doing than praising Rock.

  • Comment number 33.

    Golfnut99 hows it going man! Hope you been keeping the blog going in my absence. BiloMct What do you think of cfcboy23 comments on Lee Westwood?? cfcboy23 how many years ago was that when Lee was in the mixer? Were talking about on a regular basis here, Rory as proved he can do it regularly in the big events, Luke and Lee not so much.

  • Comment number 34.

    Thanks simmotee123 i had a sneaky £10 on him just like i did on my other prediction Kenneth Ferrie a few months back when he also won on the tour. Rob Rock is the real deal though, he isnt a big driver so he may struggle at the masters but i think he as a chance in the other majors, but i think Tiger will find even extra gears when it comes to the real deal tournaments!

  • Comment number 35.

    I wonder if BiloMcT / mickeysausage, Sumo82 etc, realise that we all realise that it is all the one, same, sad individual posting under different names? Get a life!

    Well played Rocky - fantastic.

    I think people need to relax, I do not think Iain is tiger bashing. One poster correctly put it that Tiger is judged by the extraordinary standards he achieved in his "first incarnation", and on this tournaments evidence, is still some way of that. Everyone, including Iain, agrees and has said that a fit and firing Tiger is the best thing for world golf.

    I think it is massively over the top to also say that LD was "out of his league and out of his depth" in the first 2 rounds playing with TW and RorMc.... he cant play quality golf every week... he played averagely in the 2nd two rounds as well, by 'muppet-logic' (my own name for you people and your dodgy logic) I suppose he was well out of his depth with those playing partners also? Give the guy a break, he has beaten both guys in many fields in 2011.

  • Comment number 36.

    Iain Carter, to say that poor 4th days has been "a feature of Tigers game over the last couple of years" is hilarious. He's hardly played !! More frightening is that he has such talent that he can bounce back after all the bad injuries and be right at the top of the biggest leaderboards already !! The bloke is incredible, and when he does start stringing it together a bit more there will be trouble for the others. Give him a break, he's only been fit 5 minutes and look what he's doing !! Mr Rock won with a fantastic last day and derservedly so. It was his day and very pleased for him. Dont knock Tiger, talk about the Rock !!

  • Comment number 37.

    Not sure Mickey - please define 'mixing it'... top 5, last pairing etc? The fact LW sank to 250 in the world and got back to #1 is worthy of credit. To then call him a bottler on regular basis is just small minded... but hey that's the way you roll.
    Did Kenneth Ferrie make the cut?

  • Comment number 38.

    I think anyone who bashes LD is ridiculous, in all of Tiger's prime years he never topped both money lists, organising ones life and game to compete both sides of the atlantic, as well as have a pregnant wife through all of that, what he did last year over the entire season was immense.

    I suppose you have to ask which is harder, to do what LD did last year or win a major? I would conject that as there are 4 major winners every year but that nobody has ever done what LD did then it takes a temprement, skill and balls of the highest order to achieve what he did last year.

    would winning a major be the icing on the cake? absolutely. but look at darren clarke and a padraig, both won majors (padraig 3 over an excellent 18 month stretch of golf) but now they are nowhere near the top of the rankings

  • Comment number 39.

    Good to see RR holding his nerve yesterday, the pressure certainly was on especially with a resurgent Woods putting everything in sight. He's had his doubters especially on here, but fair play to him for getting a big name tornament under his belt.
    Woods has definitely returned now, ok not back to his absolute best, but any field that has him in it is stronger and the tornament's profile will be lifted. Just think of what the majors have in store for us!!!!!
    I won't be drawn on Luke, i think it was a blip and he will be contesting the majors this year, he's angling his game towards them, so he will be in the mix.
    Not so sure about Westwood..... nice guy, but i think the ship has sailed for him.

  • Comment number 40.

    yorkshire_blogster

    I think you'll find that TW would have topped both money lists on something like 4 different occasions! Except he didn't play enough European Tour tournaments to be recognised as a member of the tour and be included on the money list.

    To me that makes it an even better achievement having taken less tournaments. If he had wanted to create that history, he could easily have done it but it was obviously not high on his list of priorities.

  • Comment number 41.

    @35 - Really ???????

    I think the 'muppet logic' applies to yourself pal.

  • Comment number 42.

    Nobody likes TeniPurist. An Awful Blogger.

  • Comment number 43.

    # stand corrected on woods

    but this only re-inforces the point I made how good LD is!!

    as Sumo says I think this year he is gearing his game around the majors so that he isn't tagged as a winner of non-events.

    I just think some people will have a go because they have nothing better to do. The fact this is RR's 2nd tour win in 200 events shows that any golfer in the top 200 can wina golf tournament, and that includes majors - look at the one time winners who have done nothing since

    it is a much harder feat to be a consistent force on one or both tours, what LD has to do now is have another good year and fight for a major title, but just because RM and TW beat him in first event of year doesn't make him a worse player.

  • Comment number 44.

    I think Robert was fantastic on the day and performed brilliantly. As for Tiger, he has shown glimpses of his past form and once he has put together a consistent run of tournaments, he will string the 4 rounds in the 60s together that he will no doubt need to beat the current crop of stars in all tours.

    What I found interesting yesterday was the genuine happiness Tiger seemed to display towards Robert Rock and his performance to win. Rob said in his interview that Tiger was brilliant towards him all the way around. This seems like a big change for Tiger and probably a conscious effort to increase his likeability.

    Question is though, will Tiger return to the zoned in golfing superstar who barely mutters a word to anyone on the course or the guy we saw this weekend? Signing autographs, being humble, better interviews (admitting flaws for a change).

    Finally I think we are forgetting this is very early in the season for the golfers so we shouldnt judge performance just yet. Did anyone see big Phil at TH, he played awful and basically said he was treating the tournament as a practice session. Very disrespectful to sponsors, organisers etc - has his halo slipped? Can you imagine if TW said that?

  • Comment number 45.

    TeniPurist get a grip lad!
    mickysausage, the blogs were terrible for a while. lets get Don247 back now!

  • Comment number 46.

    What rubbish mickeysausage writes. Luke and Rory played in 9 big events together last year, the four majors, three WGC events, the BMW at Wentworth and the Dubai World Championship (the two flagship events of the European tour). Luke came out ahead in seven of them, Rory beating him at the US Open (obviously) and the Open where Luke had a shocker and Rory wasn't much better. Luke closed out the European Tour money list with two 66s, won the US list with six straight birdies and back nine 30, which impressed the hell out of his peers - who have a better view of his worth than mickeysausage. Doesn't sound like a choker to me - everything was on the line including being first European to top the list. Btw how much cash will it take for RR to succumb and let his head be a walking billboard?

  • Comment number 47.

    comment 38 by the yorkshire blogster.......

    Luke Donald deserves a bashing after that sorry performance at the weekend. No one can dispute the skill and talent he possesses, but he is far from ruthless. He had a perfect oppurtunity this week to impose himself on a top class field and prove his worth as number 1, instead his effort emulated that of a half-hearted golfer who is "happy where he is" in both the sport and life in general.

    He is no doubt a great golfer with a very solid game but for me his mindset and will to win is not strong enough to dominate in the sport. It seems to me that no-one really fears him on the golf course (no aura about him like TW, Mcilroy e.t.c. exerting extra pressure on the field around him) when they clearly SHOULD, maybe that major is all he needs.....

    At present world number 1 he maybe, but a world beater he aint.

  • Comment number 48.

    re Woodywonder No 46. - perfectly explained regarding Luke. His record stands up to everyone. He also beat Westy in a play off to become world no 1, not exactly a bottle job by my reckoning! RR to star for head and shoulders shampoo would be hilarious! lol

  • Comment number 49.

    Fair play to Robert Rock, he's had some love on these blogs for a while. Mostly for his hair, but ocassionally for his game. I thought he was going to throw it away coming in but he managed to keep things together. Tiger's definitely getting there though and I think he'll have a good year.

    TeniPurist - you're a nut case.

    Good to see TheSorcerer/mickysausage back.

  • Comment number 50.

    Show some respect you sad little writer. You people think he is a bad boy for his affairs. If only you did some research instead of begging for a upgrade on your next flight. This guy has made golf what it is today. If it was just about Luke Donadls and Lee Westwood what would you do for a living. KFC is my guess..

  • Comment number 51.

    Simmotee...

    How can you say anyone "Deserves" a bashing for playing poorly. Utterly ridiculous

  • Comment number 52.

    Making my return to the blog in order to praise mickeysausage for his loyal promotion of Robert Rock in the face of criticism from yours truly!! Always been a fan of Rock, his lovely smooth flowing swing and his attitude on the course, however I really didn't think he had it in him to go toe to toe with some of the best players in the world and come out on top. Credit where credit is due to the man with the best hair on golf, as well as to a certain mickeysausage! It will be interesting to see how Rock pushes on now over the next couple of years, qualifying for WGCs as well as automatically Majors gives him a great springboard. Can he cement a place in the world's top 50?
    I must admit that his two wins in the last year, Italy and AbuDhabi yesterday, he has showed great composure, maturity and strength of will in the closing stretch.
    Mickeysausage - Can you smell what the Rock is cooking!!??

  • Comment number 53.

    You really need to resign after this. IDIOT.FACT

  • Comment number 54.

    Come on write back, answer these questions from all & sundry. Or are you, as predicted a jobs worth scared of the BBC.

  • Comment number 55.

    @47 - I agree with the second part of your post regarding Luke's 'aura', he should be exerting mind games and pressure through his ranking alone but he does come across as a bit of a softy. But nobody deserves a bashing for playing poorly, that's a poor comment, everybody has there peaks and trough's, judge him on the season rather than a one off.

    @50 - You've been bottling that up for a whle now......

  • Comment number 56.

    Well played Robert Rock, great advert for hard work, application and conditioner.

    I used to think him a bit of a prat for getting his caddie to line everything up - sort of style over substance, but anyone who beats that jerk Woods is alright with me.

  • Comment number 57.

    Jeffkenna, thanks for the praise but you have got to keep the faith, hope this is going to be a permanent return Jeffkenna? It seems these blogs have been dying a slow painful death without us, now the new season as started we need to get these blogs going!

  • Comment number 58.

    Denners Lad...who are you talking about? you seem like a normal well balanced person.....

    jeffkenna....great to have one of the old gang back. Hopefully mickyweir and Don247 come back!

    i hate to say this but i'd like to hear from james mathew!

    Did anyone hear what John Hawksworth has said about Robert Rocks win?

  • Comment number 59.

    Denners Lad you are a legend and its about time somebody told Iain Carter the real truth!! ............... Come On IAIN......................answer him back!!!???!!

  • Comment number 60.

    Denners lad, do you know Karlbrown ?
    I think you two would get on like a house on fire.....literally !

  • Comment number 61.

    @woodywonder get a grip man!
    Luke Donald 2011 Wins
    WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, Arizona (First)
    PGA Championship, Wentworth, England First (won playoff)
    Scottish Open, Inverness (First)
    Disney Classic, Florida (First )

    Luke Donald majors
    U.S. Masters, Augusta, Georgia (Tied-fourth)
    U.S. Open, Maryland (Tied-45th )
    British Open, Sandwich, England (Missed cut )
    U.S. PGA Championship, Georgia (Tied-eighth)

    Fair enough he did alright at the Masters but finished 4 behind Scwhartzel and The Pga finished 5 behind Bradley, i dont mind Luke but what i'm saying his is that he isnt the player that Rory and Tiger are in the Major events and that will be proved this year.

  • Comment number 62.

    @TeniPurist are you on the right blog mate? Or shouldnt you be talking about Tim Henman and Jim Courier on the tennis blog? The only person i am is Mickysausage! And no JamesMatthew i'm not Mickysaursage because thats you!

  • Comment number 63.

    I would just like to take this moment to thank all my mates on here who have been asking were i have been over the last few blogs, thanks for liking Mickysausage the blogger, these people are (and sorry if i forget to mention you)

    Mattefc
    Golfnut99
    BiloMct
    Sumo82
    JeffKenna
    simmotee123
    Powerhitter
    Chummbawummba
    Kwiksandgolfer
    PeterTheHoss

    And many more probably, thank you again!

  • Comment number 64.

    I would like to hear @Denners Lad's actual thoughts about Iain Carters slating of Tiger Woods for no reason!

  • Comment number 65.

    #47

    utter tosh im afraid, how can he deserve a bashing for not winning?

    TW has an aura because he is arguably the greatest golfer the world has ever seen!!

    Rory doesn't have an aura, when he played in the 7 cities of china event he was woeful. As stated above he only beat donald 2/9 times last season in same events.

    I agree Rory is probably more exciting to watch but that does not give him an aura, other than soemone who is increasinlgy enjoying the limelight!!

    As I said before, last year LD did nothing until he won WGC matchplay in February then had one of the best years in golfing history.

    To say he deserves a bashing for not playing as well as he would have liked in one tournament is absolutely ridiculous.

  • Comment number 66.

    @Denners Lad's....i want to hear your thoughts. What do you really think about this Blog?!

  • Comment number 67.

    Speaking of Rory. Whilst the whole of World Golf is desparatly seeking to find ways to win events Mcilroy seems to be on a mission to find as many ways to not win as he possibly can.

    When collapsing to rounds in the 80's whilst leading stopped being an option he promptly went and contracted some tropical disease to ensure that he wasnt in peak condition. Having fully recovered he successfully manages to engineer 2nd place position thanks to a 2 shot penalty.

    How many other ways of not winning will he find. I predict he'll get disqualified from the Master on the 72nd hole for kicking his ball out of a fairway bunker whilst only needing a boyey for victory

  • Comment number 68.

    @67 Jimmy - haha, he's definitely been on one recently. But to give credit were its due, he showed a lot of maturity to leave it behind him and push on, this time last year i think it would of been a different story. It was stupid of him to do it, and he knew that, but i liked the way he handled it, i'm expecting a big year from Rory this year.

  • Comment number 69.

    Jimmy i reckon he is going to be leading the USPGA by a mammoth ten shots coming up to final tee and Sweet Caroline will ring his Cell phone to tell him she is in labour, and therefore he will get himself disqualified for using a mobile phone whilst playing.

  • Comment number 70.

    Did anyone else see Kyle Stanley's crazy collapse....now that was chocking!

  • Comment number 71.

    I agree sumo, The way he reacted was very creditable, Particularly considering the situation, it would have felt like he had just handed Woods a two shot advantage.

    I think he will go from strength to strength this year. He went toe to toe with Woods this week and, this week at least, he was his equal. I think predicting anyone to win a major is making a rod for your own back but he's as good a shout as anyone this year.

  • Comment number 72.

    I think if someone would of sorted a prediction league out a few people would of got a few points for Woods and McIlroy (and mickeysausage would of cleaned up with Robert Rock!)
    We need powerhitter to sort it out for the next tornament.

  • Comment number 73.

    @72, i agree. When is powerhitter going to get the finger out and pull his weight on this blog?!

  • Comment number 74.

    mickeysausage misses the point yet again. In 7 out of 9 top events where Luke and Rory went head to head last year, it was Rory who bottled it, including the Masters. Full credit to Rory for winnning US Open. Out of those 9 events Rory had three Top 10s, Luke had seven. Facts are facts.
    On RR's hair, apparently Titleist are offering him £1 miilion a year for three years. Stephen Hester could do with the money - and some of Robert's hair:)

  • Comment number 75.

    PeterTheHoss - I saw Kyle Stanley's choke - 8 at the last to go into a playoff and lose!

    Did anyone notice people singing the Rocky theme tune when RR was holing out to win? He seems like a really popular guy.

    Jimmy - you're right, Rory will look back on that as a tournament that he should have won but given his form and ability I think he'll be contending most weeks.

  • Comment number 76.

    @70 - I never saw Stanley's meltdown but i've heard about it!
    Was he 4 shots clear going into the 18th????
    I saw an interview with Snedeker and he was gutted that he'd won in that fashion.

  • Comment number 77.

    @ 74 woodywonder - lets be clear about one thing - Rory McIlroy is 100 times a better golfer than Luke Donald. Rory strikes the ball amazing and can play golf miles better than Luke. Who ever talks about " Did you see that class round by Luke Donald? " . Any proper Golf fan that understands Golf doesnt care about winning the Disney when he had to etc etc. Golf fans want to see immpressive shots and amazing rounds, something Donald never does.
    Luke will continue to potter along picking up ranking points for top 10's while Rory continue to set the world alight with proper immpressive ball striking.

  • Comment number 78.

    #74

    woody I agree it shows Donald does have bottle, but I think what everyone now wants to see is Luke have a real push for a major

    however I think the only one he might have a chance on is the USPGA

    the Masters is usually won by big hitters - although Zach Johnson corrected that with an immense short game which LD does have

    Open is always an absolute bitch, long courses as well

    for whatever reason The Open isn't too kind to Luke

    He usually ends season well and USPGA sets up like a lot of US courses so I reckon this one is his best bet

    if he goes down the stretch in a couple of majors we will soon see what he is made of

  • Comment number 79.

    Great victory Robert and nice to see a bit of a rock n roll hair to boost on tour! At last a professional golf player has chosen not to wear one of those caps and show us all a bit of individuality. You're barnet's got my vote big yin!

  • Comment number 80.

    @woodywonder you obviously dont watch a lot of golf tournaments, Donald is a good short game player, one of the best, but he doesnt take enough risks, he also doesnt set the world on fire when he plays, the 3 ball for the first 2 rounds over the weekend was most certainly all about Woods and Mcilroy, Donald was like a somebody who was shell shocked to be playing with the two! In golf you have got to take risks to win these extremly difficult Major courses, Mickleson pine straw shot in the masters, Woods shot over the tree, Mcilroy shot out the rough at US open that went in the water. If you want to win these majors you've got to have the bottle, and simple steady drives with up and downs is not always enough!

  • Comment number 81.

    I bet Rustyrussell has a good head of hair.

  • Comment number 82.

    #77 Bilo... "Rory McIlroy is 100 times a better golfer than Luke Donald. Rory strikes the ball amazing and can play golf miles better than Luke" and for afters "...while Rory continue to set the world alight with proper immpressive ball striking".
    You don't have to like Luke but my kids could construct a better argument than this - "proper impressive", I ask you. Rory is very very good and his swing a thing of beauty but I assume you have chosen to ignore the many posts that prove Luke has a better recent record if not the "amazing rounds" that seem to keep you excited.

  • Comment number 83.

    Does anyone think that another player other than Tiger could have pulled off an even par round in the last round yesterday, if they was to produce the same Drives (2 FIR) over the 18. I would like to here peoples thoughts on this.

    I quite liked the Rocky music yesterday for Rob Rocks win, what are peoples thoughts to golfers having entrance music when they enter the arena? A bit like darts and boxing! This i think would add to the atmosphere, what do people think some of the golfers entrance songs would be?

  • Comment number 84.

    cfcboy23....i'm not saying Donald doesnt have a nice wee record its just who ever really says " you gota go watch Luke Donald play golf "....people run through walls to get the chance to see Rory and Tiger hit Golf balls!
    Luke is pure boring and he'll never win a Major

  • Comment number 85.

    God forbit Barry Hearn ever takes up the job as secretaty of the R&A, however if he did.

    Tigers would have to be Womaniser by Britney Spears.
    RR could have Male Model by The Undertones.

    Its all well and good praising Woods for managing a level par round despite being so wayward, he's always had the capacity like Mickleson to produce some outragous shots round the greens, He needs to actually remove these destructive rounds from his game in order to start winning again. Though it'll probably happen soon enough

  • Comment number 86.

    I have to back BiloMcT up here. Who does actually want to see Luke Donald play Golf? i'd have no interest whatsoever. In fact you would have to pay me to watch Luke Donald play 18 holes while i'd happily pay £100 to follow Tiger or Rory around a golf course

  • Comment number 87.

    yorkshire blogger (and others) i apologise for saying LD deserves a bashing, that was unfair and like you said is a harsh critic based on one performance.

    however your analysis of lukes chances at winning a major only confirms what i was saying (not having the ruthlessness or mindset to dominate), i mean what are those excuses even meant to mean??

    According to you he wont win the US open because of long courses and its usually a bitch!!, he wont win the Open because its not to kind to him (who is it ever kind to??) and you have already stated Zach Johnson won the masters with his short game! so what is stopping luke. Continued……..

  • Comment number 88.

    Continued……I am afraid you are making excuses for LD that apply to everyone playing golf, I am not suggesting that luke donald will never win a major (I hope he does!) but if the reasons your giving for his lack of success were true, i would suggest retirement!!!

    Interesting to how you only think he will win the PGA because he finishes the year well. If i recall he had a good form all season last time round hence topping both money lists, but yet he still didn't even challenge for a major!!

  • Comment number 89.

    Must be me then... I'm fiercely proud of my country so I'll watch Donald and Westwood over Rory and Tiger every day. I'm never going to hit shots like any of the pros so I'm not looking for shot making etc... I'm a fan/supporter who wants my fellow country men to win, that's all. Give me a Robert Rock win over an exciting Rory round (only to fall short, again) any thime.

  • Comment number 90.

    What I was saying is that his game may not suit major courses, but his mindset last year was to top both money lists (once he realised he had a chance) whereas this year he will hopefully be trying to centre his season on the majors

    I think there are very few golfers who will go to a tournament thinking they can win every time - in fact I would only put TW in this category because he has proven he can win everywhere in the world

    Rory says his game doesn't suit the Open (even though he shot 62(?) at St Andrews a couple of years ago and that he played his golf at Portrush!!

    I do agree though that having followed LD and TW and RM and a load of others that the prospect of paying £70 this year at Lytham to watch Luke is not something to excite me - because he is so steadfastly consistent. Its better to watch Tiger only hit 2 fairways and scramble because he then has to hit shots us mere mortals cannot.

    Its like enjoying your football team play like plonkers but win 4-3, rather than watch them win 1-0 in a boring but self assured manner.

  • Comment number 91.

    cfcboy23, i admire your passion. I'm an Englishman too, i like to see are boys do well but i wana see immpressive golf when i go to tournaments.

    mickysausage, i think Tiger should have the theme song 'Bring it All Back' by S Club 7

  • Comment number 92.

    My entrance music would be as follows

    Tiger - "Suck on my Chocolate Salty Balls" By Chef
    Luke Donald - "Easy Like Sunday Morning" Lionel Richie
    Lee Westwood - "10 green bottles sitting on a wall" by unknown
    Rory - "Show Me Love" Robyn S

  • Comment number 93.

    All you guys who slate LD while critizing Iain Carter for doing the same to TW need to look in the mirror. There is a big hypocrite looking right back at you!

  • Comment number 94.

    Entrance music -

    Robert Rock - Suadehead, Morrissey
    Luke Donald - gold digger, Kanye West
    Tiger Woods - Girls on film, Duran duran
    Rory Mac - close to you, Carpenters
    Lee Westwood - Your the one for me fatty , Morrissey
    Steve williams - communication breakdown, Led Zep

  • Comment number 95.

    So do I Bilo... but I don't feel that Luke's short game or Westwood's iron play is any less impressive than Tiger's game or Rory's. It's all subjective at the end of the day... and I'd rather say I was there when "Luke/Lee won" than when/if anyone else does. Following Faldo in 92, I think, gave me that particular bug!

  • Comment number 96.

    mickeysausage... A.K.A. I-D-I-O-T by the Hives!

  • Comment number 97.

    What a year for golf.......
    Luke Donald world number 1 looking for his first major.
    Rory needs to finish more tournaments off,when in contention.
    Lee Westwood maybe his last chance to win his first major.
    Tiger on his way back,never write this man off.
    G-Mac and Padraig looking to put a poor year behind them.
    Kaymer the danger man(forget last week).
    Sergio on his way back too towards top 10 again.
    Schwartzel and Oosthuizen will be up there again.
    And it's Ryder Cup year!!!

  • Comment number 98.

    mickeysausage....welcome back dude, you HAVE been missed. Firstly people on here backing TW are spot on with their facts. A very good golfer replicating tigers round yesterday would have shot 78. He was leading the GIR for the first 3 rounds, and only had 2 bogeys, putts were going in with pace and the scariest was the driver was looking better than ever!!he knew he wasn't having a good round yet still manages them unreal shots to make par/ bogey when doubles could be on the card. He played beautiful controlled golf for 3 days on a course he has never played on (says a lot about 3 of the current top 4??). He has one indifferent round and all these so called experts say he is still not right...what abut rory, he was doing his usual half a good round, half a bad!! I stand to be corrected on this but, TW had played just 14 rounds of stroke play golf prior to australia....since then, T3,W,T3...and given this was one of the strongest fields in a european tour event for moons, he done pretty well. The players know he is back and are current crop at the top are running scared....bilo, hows tricks dude. Nearly forgot well played RR, should get him a few invites and exemptions

  • Comment number 99.

    14 rounds from/inc the masters

  • Comment number 100.

    Hi mickysausage,
    Thanks for thinking of kwiksand, bit redundant commenting on here about the Beeb getting Iain Carter to write a column about Tiger, essentially. Just wish he'd get an editor who can get past Woods when he's thinking of golfers, but I suppose the number of comments on here is proof positive that Tiger generates interest. For better or for worse.

    No complaints about any of hatebayern's 2012 expectations, tho' a bit ott on Westwood's "last chance".

 

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