Tiger and Graeme On The End of the Chevron

I thought there were a couple of interesting bits in the Q&A after Tiger lost the Chevron in a playoff …

Q. What do you take out of this week? Obviously I’m sure disappointed to not win today, but a lot of good things early and got yourself in a place you really hadn’t been most of the year.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, Bob, it was a great week, even though I didn’t win. Today was—I’m proud of today even though I lost, because I putted awful of starting out. I missed three short putts, which I don’t do.

Then I lost my swing in the middle part of the round, and pieced it back together again piece by piece. I was proud of that. I was very committed coming in, and hit some really, really good shots coming in, which was good.

If anything, I thought that’s when there might be a breakdown, but I was very pleased that I was able to put that back together then.

Unfortunately, during the middle part of the round I lost all those shots and Graeme was playing really well.

Q. You talk about how you’re proud of today and stuff, but can you when is the last time you could say that when you didn’t win? But considering the year and the swing change and everything, where you could say, I’m proud even though you didn’t win?

TIGER WOODS: I don’t know. Sorry.

Q. When is the last time you went a year without winning, do you think, from age three?

TIGER WOODS: I don’t know. Probably been a while.

And from Graeme:

Q. Two parter: First, did you ever play with Tiger back when it was difficult for anybody to play well with him because of his intimidation factor? And secondly, you always won a lot golf tournaments in college, and you’ve had great Ryder Cups. What is it about pressure that you seem to be able to handle and really thrive on?

GRAEME McDOWELL: Yeah, first part of the question, no, I didn’t really play much with him back in the day. First time I played with him was in 2002. It was my first four or five months or tour, so I was intimidated by most things. Obviously I was very intimidated by him. Deer in headlights comes to mind.

But I guess 2002 Tavistock Cup back in Orlando. I played with him at the Masters in ‘09. I played with him a few times, you know.

But I played with him in Shanghai about four weeks ago the first two rounds, and Ernie, so that was kind of a nice acclimatization, if you like. I think that’s the word you got to use when you play with him. You’ve got to acclimatize to it, because there’s a circus that goes with playing with Tiger Woods. There’s an aura around him; there’s a buzz, a media buzz, the fans.

It just takes a little bit of getting used to. It’s more of the inside the ropes stuff. Just a lot going on. You learn when you play. And it’s not just Tiger, it’s the big players, you know, Phil, Ernie. Any time you play with big players you have to get used to that, and I have done that over the years.

As far as winning goes, it’s a good habit to get into obviously. I’ve had an up and down career. Plenty of ups and plenty of downs. I’ve always figured myself as a pretty fast learner. I’ve learned a lot from my down times, from my hard years. I’ve worked very hard the last three or four years and made some big decisions in my life, caddies and management and equipment companies.

I feel like I earned my stripes a little bit, and I felt like a year like this one has been coming. Obviously the script this year has been pretty amazing. I didn’t quite foresee it being this amazing.

But I really I felt like I had some big golf in me this year, and it’s been amazing to be able to do it.

This really is a tale of players in two very different places; you can see it in these questions and answers. Tiger is in a place he’s never been—winless for a year . Worse, it’s not just because others are just better. He’s losing tournaments. And if you read Graeme’s comments, you can see that Tiger has lost some of his intimidation. Graeme talks about how Tiger intimidated “back in the day” and now lumps playing with Tiger with playing with Ernie and Phil.

My, how things change.

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