ORY in Melbourne for the American team competing at the Presidents Cup was a fine achievement and provided further evidence that Tiger Woods is again a force to be reckoned with.
You don’t always get what you deserve in match play and that was the case in Friday’s four-ball match where Woods and Dustin Johnson were narrowly beaten by Jason Day and Aaron Baddeley.
In Sunday’s singles, however, Tiger was absolutely majestic in his 4&3 win over Australia’s Baddeley, a performance that showcased a significant improvement in his putting.
By his own admission that was the one area of his game that needed some fine-tuning and after taking some advice from team-mate Steve Stricker, he was able to release the club more freely and get the toe of the putter through the ball.
Distance off the tee, laser accuracy with his irons and a magnificent touch around the green were all hallmarks of Tiger’s game when he was at his peak. What really set him apart, however, was the ability to drain pressure putts from mid-range with ridiculous ease and certainty. If he can rediscover that level of consistency with his short game then the rest of the world is in trouble.
It’s been a tumultuous few weeks for the former world No1, but I believe the fact he came out as the clear winner in the controversy that followed the comments of his former caddie Steve Williams has helped him.
He acted with humility and grace which gave him the support of the public and you sense there is real momentum behind this comeback now.
As for the rest of the American team they look a very strong unit and will be extremely competitive at next year’s Ryder Cup. There is a nice blend of youth and experience which is essential, but it’s worth remembering the world’s top four golfers are European and I’d say the holders still look a stronger team.
Davis Love III will skipper America at the Medinah Country club but after his performance this week I think Fred Couples is a shoo-in for the job in the future.
He handled the issue of Tiger’s selection perfectly and was totally vindicated and although he has the reputation as the carefree couch potato of American golf, in reality he’s an extremely insightful man who’d thrive in that role.