MANILA, APRIL 9, 2012 (Associated Press) Column: Tiger's display an embarrassment to game. Amid the staid confines of golf's most hallowed grounds, Woods acted like a petulant teenager who wasn't getting his way. He cursed wayward shots, hung his head after missed putts, and took mock swings in anger.

To top things off, he kicked his 9-iron about 15 yards on the 16th teebox after badly missing yet another shot.

About the only thing he didn't do was grab his bag from caddie Joe La Cava and toss it into the nearby pond.

"I think we can safely say Tiger has lost his game ... and his mind," CBS analyst Nick Faldo said on air.

The player who vowed to honour and respect the game when he came back from the sex scandal that derailed his career and ruined his marriage did just the opposite. And he did it on a course where over the years the game's greats have conducted themselves with only the best sense of deportment.

Asked afterward how he felt, he could only offer this: "I feel hungry."

Woods will be around for the weekend because the 75 he shot was still good enough to make the cut, though watching his histrionics as he played the back nine might have led a casual observer to think he was struggling to break 100.

He's eight shots back of the lead and will have an early tee time Saturday with defending champion Charl Schwartzel, who might want to bring along a helmet in case the clubs start flying again.

If Payne is as serious about keeping club decorum intact as he is about keeping women members out of Augusta National, he would do well take it upon himself to show Woods the door.

Stand up to the bully. He's allowed to get away with things the other 95 players wouldn't dream of doing. Stand up for a game that Woods insists on treating as if it were a roller derby match.

Won't happen, of course. Woods gets special treatment here not just because he's a four-time champion who knows how to say all the right things when they drape a green jacket around his shoulders, but because he moves the needle on television.

Chances are he won't even get a tongue lashing from Payne, who has already botched one bubbling controversy this week and surely doesn't want to get involved in another.

Payne hasn't been seen since declaring Wednesday that Augusta National is a private club that will do what it wants and that any conversations he has with his granddaughters about not being able to be a member here are conversations he plans to keep quiet.

What set Woods off on Friday wasn't hard to figure out. He missed three putts under 5 feet on the front nine - two of them badly - and was already steaming when he started the back. Then the swing he thought had been rebuilt to perfection with coach Sean Foley collapsed under the pressure of trying to post a score.

He swung a club in anger after pushing an iron shot badly on No. 11, then cursed when he missed the par putt. He muttered after another shot stuck in the bank of the hazard on the 13th hole, then threw a tee down in anger to mark the spot for his pitch.

A 4-iron at 15 went so far right he was yelling at it and looked like he wanted to break his club, and on the 16th hole he was so irritated by a missed 9-iron that he dropped the club behind him, then kicked it as hard as he could.

That prompted former swing coach Hank Haney, who wrote in his book that Woods used to give him the silent treatment when he played badly, to tweet "Glad it's not me."

When Woods was done, his agent and the person he pays to shield him from the media put him in front of a friendly questioner in the media scrum outside the scoring area. He gave a smile for the cameras, talked about how he was still in the tournament and, in a final absurdity, preached the importance of patience for the weekend.

That Woods is still fighting the demons that have gotten into his game - and perhaps his life - is evident. He's obviously frustrated at being where he is in a tournament he expected to be competitive in after winning two weeks ago at Bay Hill, and is coming to the unsettling realization that the swing changes he's made don't always work under pressure.

But he's the greatest player of his era, and a role model in the sport. He has a responsibility to behave, yet he can't seem to control how he behaves.

He embarrassed himself, and he embarrassed the sport.

But at least we know more now about the real Tiger Woods.

Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or twitter.com/timdahlberg


Tiger’s frustration boils over at Masters Published : Sunday, April 08, 2012 00:00 Article Views : 212 Written by : AFP

AUGUSTA, Georgia: Tiger Woods walked away from Augusta National after Friday’s second round with a load on his mind after he very nearly shot himself out of the tournament in the second round.

After opening strongly with birdies at the first and third, the former World No. 1 missed a couple of short putts down the rest of the front nine as he tried to close the gap on the leaders and position himself for the weekend.

Then his game started to unravel dramatically down the back nine to the astonishment of the usual big gallery of golf fans he pulled along in his wake at Augusta National.

Particularly jaw-dropping was a wild four-iron second to the 15th which flew yards wide to the right, a duffed chip into a bunker to follow and a shanked nine-iron to the par-three 16th that resulted in Woods kicking the offending club off the tee.

By the end of his round a frustrated Woods, the 14-time major winner whose victory two weeks ago snapped a 28-month win drought, had made five bogeys, three of them on Augusta’s four par-3s, and pars on all four par-5s in firing a 75 to share 40th on 147.

Asked what had gone wrong from Bay Hill, where he won, to his play on Friday, the American laid the blame squarely on the drastic swing changes he has been working on with coach Sean Foley aimed at accomodating the knee and ankle injuries that laid him low last year.

“I know what to do. It’s just a matter of doing it,” he said.

“That’s the frustrating part because I’m still creeping into my old tendencies. I’ve just got to stay patient with it and keep doing the reps (repititions) and eventually it’ll become where it’s second nature.

“I have it in stretches. I get into streaks where it’s really good and then I lose it for a little bit. That’s obviously very frustrating.”

Woods now enters the weekend eight shots off the lead and with most of the world’s top players stretched out in front of him.

Even so, he believes that if he and Foley can work out how to get more consistency into his remodelled swing he could still have an outside chance of shooting for a fifth Masters title after 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2005.

At the very least, he wants to maintain the record that has seen him finish in the Masters top 10 for the last seven years — the only player to have managed that feat.

“I’ve been around the block for a number of years and I understand how to be patient. I understand how to grind it out and the tournament is not over,” he said.

“Last year I think on the final round I made up seven shots. I can do this. I’ve just got to be patient.

“Obviously I’ve got to cut that deficit down tomorrow with a good, solid round and then got off to a quick start on the front nine on Sunday and see where that puts me.”

The bookies were not convinced of his chances installing Rory McIlroy as the new favorite at 3/1 ahead of Lee Westwood at 6/1, Phil Mickelson at 8/1, Bubba Watson and Sergio Garcia at 12/1 with Woods drifting out to 40/1.

Woods will play on Saturday alongside defending champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa.


Woods matches worst 4-round score at Masters

By NANCY ARMOUR, AP National Writer – 7 minutes ago

[PHOTO - Tiger Woods waves after his putt on the ninth green during the fourth round of the Masters golf tournament Sunday, April 8, 2012, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)]

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Tiger Woods arrived at Augusta National as a favorite to win his fifth green jacket. Instead, he left with his worst score as a pro.

A 74 on Sunday put Woods at 5-over 293 for the Masters, which was his worst four-round score since he posted the same number as a first-time amateur way back in 1995. He shot a 291 in 2007, but that was good enough for second that year, when it was windy and bitterly cold. When he left the course Sunday, he was tied for 41st, the same spot he finished in 1995.

"It was an off week at the wrong time," he said.

Woods never broke par on the course where he was so dominant that Masters officials were accused of trying to "Tiger-proof" it when they redesigned parts of it. Worse, he was just 1 under for the week on the par 5s, where he normally collects birdies by the handful.

"If I look back on the week, I played the par 5s atrociously," he said. "This is a golf course you just have to dominate the par 5s, and I did not do that at all this week."

Expectations that Woods would win again skyrocketed two weeks ago when he won at Bay Hill — his first PGA Tour victory in 30 months. But things began unraveling when he closed with back-to-back bogeys Thursday, and he went into a full-scale meltdown Friday with a flurry of wayward tee shots, blocked approaches and missed putts from close range.

He cursed the bad shots or took mock swings in anger — sometimes doing both. After a poor tee shot on 16, booted his 9-iron about 15 yards.

The boorish behavior drew criticism from some fans, and he could be subject to discipline by the PGA Tour.

Tour policy states that players can be disciplined for conduct unbecoming a professional even at tournaments that are co-sponsored or approved by the PGA Tour, such as the major championships. The tour doesn't comment on discipline, however, so whether he's fined might never be known.

"It's just the way it is," Woods said Sunday. "I'm trying to compete, and unfortunately I just didn't play well this week."

Woods has been stuck on 14 major championships, four shy of Jack Nicklaus' record, since winning the U.S. Open in a playoff in 2008 — on a broken leg, no less. Since then, there's been the sex scandal that cost him his marriage and several sponsors, and injuries have kept him off the course for long stretches.

Now his problem is his swing. He's been reworking it with Sean Foley for more than 18 months, and it remains a work in progress.

"What's frustrating is I know what to do, and I just don't do it. I get out there and I just don't trust it at all," Woods said. "I can get it on the range, I can get it dialed in there. We'll work on the same things and it feels really good, and I go to the golf course and I just don't quite trust it. It just means I just need to do more reps."

When Woods won at Bay Hill, many saw it as a sign that he had mastered the changes he'd made with Foley. But his shots wound up all over the place, and he complained that bad habits were creeping back into his swing, saying he had "the Hank backswing, with the new downswing."

Woods worked with Hank Haney from 2004-10.

"When you get into tough situations, you revert back to your old motor patterns," Woods said. "That's kind of what happened to me this week."

But he has no doubt he's on the right path.

"You're still always working on little things. I know the big things that we're working on are done, but it's the little things, too, now," Woods said. "The details sometimes can be magnified. Especially on a golf course like this, it doesn't take much. You're a yard off here or there, which happened to be quite often, and next thing you know, I'm 40, 50 feet away."

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