Inicio News Tiger Woods’s ‘Annus horribilis’

Tiger Woods’s ‘Annus horribilis’


The California native hasn’t finished any year off worse as far as his classification in the world rankings since the 1996 season, his professional debut

Tiger Woods will end the year 2014 in 32º place in the world rankings. It’s his worst classification closing in on December 31st since 1996, the season of his professional debut, when he finished in 33º.

The world ranking is nothing more than a reflection of Tiger’s ‘annus horribilis’, probably the worst of his entire career, although he’s had a few bad ones now. He didn’t even play in nine full tournaments, he passed five cuts, he pulled out on two occasions in the middle of the round, changed coaches, had two injuries to his back, and even had to undergo surgery. This is the summary of a year to forget, a year in which his best results were 25º in the WGC Cadillac Championship in Doral, a clear margin from 17º, tying for last place with the latter, in the Hero World Challenge held at the beginning of December.

This blow to Tiger’s career came with a changed outlook in the world of golf. After a splendid 2013, where he won five tournaments, the World Golf Championships among them, and having recovered his spot as Number One in the rankings, made for high hopes and expectations that 2014 would be Woods’s reencounter with the majors. But it couldn’t be farther from the truth.

It all began to spiral downward at the Honda Classic, the PGA Florida National in February. Tiger showed up with back problems from the end of the previous year, although it never seemed to be a severe problem. What’s more, that week he was beginning to prepare specifically for the Masters in Augusta, his utmost goal.

However, the story took a different course. The California native began to get back spasms and pulled out of the tournament. It was on the 13th hole on a Sunday, when he was five ahead in the day after making forty shots on the first nine. It was the fourth time in five years that he had abandoned a championship in the middle of the competition. He played the following week in the WGC Cadillac and finished in 25º place, but just a few days later announced that he was going to have endoscopic surgery in his back. It was confirmed then that he was going to miss the Masters in Augusta for the first time in his career and he wouldn’t make it to play in the US Open either.

He returned in July in hopes of playing in the Quicken Loans, a tournament that brought in funds to help their foundation. Tiger’s essential objective that week was to prepare for the Open Championship in Royal Liverpool, his return to the majors. At the Quicken, he didn’t make the cut and came out with more pain than gain from the British Open (69º). Not even one week later, he pulled out once again in the middle of the round at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational. He struggled with back problems again, although different from those that caused him to have surgery in March. The rumor that Tiger had decided to change coaches was becoming more and more widespread.

Even so, Woods went on to play the following week in the PGA Championship, the last major of the season, although he did not make the cut and finished with a bad image with two rounds of 74 shots in Valhalla. Right after finishing the tournament, he announced that he would be taking time off again due to injuries to his back. It gave off the sensation that Tiger could have played out the season until the Ryder Cup, but the lack of ‘feeling’ with captain Tom Watson, whom never assured him a spot on the team, unless he demonstrated that he was playing well, is what set off the decision to cross himself off the Gleneagles list.

At the end of August, the rumor was confirmed. Tiger Woods decided to part ways with Sean Foley, the third coach of his career after Butch Harmon and Hank Haney. Although officially it was all done in good faith, off the records, rumor had it in the US that the California native attributed his back problems to the swing he was working on with Foley.

Tiger dropped off the map for the second time in the season, and this time was out for four months. He returned in December, reason being his tournament, the Hero World Challenge, and just a few days later announced the name of his new coach, Chris Como, with whom he began a sort of historical revision of his swing, with the idea in mind of the reinitiation of a movement similar to that of his first years with Harmon.

His second reappearance in 2014 was just as gray as the first. He finished tied for last place, showing a significant shortfall in his game, although logically in a way after having been so long without competing. It was the end of a free-falling season.

That’s what the finale looked like of a terrible season for Tiger. Only in 2008, when he was severely injured in his knee and had to be operated on after the US Open did he play in less tournaments than this year (7), and never until this fateful 2014 had he ended a season without having taken home a top ten title.

There are even more doubts now as to whether or not he can one day measure up to Jack Nicklaus’s 18 majors, the ‘leiv motiv’ of his career, and there aren’t many who dare to predict that he will one day recover his Number One standing in the future. Thus finalizes a bleak year in Tiger Woods’s career, leaving him with a more negative than positive panorama of the future and what lies ahead.