Stinson: Shaking the rust not easy for Mr. Woods

First Posted: 7/15/2010

As the golfing world turns its eyes to Scotland, Tiger Woods needs to find answers on the hallowed grounds of St. Andrews.
Since the Thanksgiving weekend, when the allegations of Woods adultery became public, his golf game has been a car wreck.
No one can blame Woods for taking the time to try and get his family life in order and putting the clubs into the attic. While his fellow golfers were flying to Hawaii to kickoff the 2010 season, Woods was taking a sabbatical from the sport.
And the rust has shown.
From being a player that is always near the top of the money list, the FedEx Cup standings despite playing a limited schedule, Woods is now in the same company of Jeff Maggert, Stephen Ames and Chad Campbell. He’s made the cut in five of his six appearances and his best finishes were a tie for fourth at The Masters and the U.S. Open.
Even though Woods was lurking near the top of the leaderboard in the majors, no one was afraid of the “Tiger aura,” which has claimed several golfers in previous years.
Now, Tiger is just another player making the loop, but he has a chance to regain his swagger at the British Open. As much as Augusta National is the shrine to golf in America, St. Andrews is the Mecca to world golf. And Woods likes to bring his “A” game to whenever he steps foot at either course.
For the last two British Opens at St. Andrews, Woods has made it the “Tiger Invitation.” He won the Claret Jug in 2000 by eight shots and repeated the feat five years later by five strokes.
But it’s not the same Woods that will be teeing it up. This is a Woods that is struggling to find his swing, his touch around the greens and his putting stroke. Things have gotten so bad for Woods, he is thinking about switching putters. The putter that has won him 72 tournaments worldwide no longer has the magic that drains 25-foot double-breakers that pierced daggers into his opponents.
Instead of roaring into St. Andrews with his game poised to make the rest of the field play for second, Woods is hoping to put four solid rounds together and make a run at his 15th major.
Woods knows it will be tough for him to catch Jack Nicklaus’ 18 majors with players knowing they can stand eye-to-eye with him and believing Woods will blink first.

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