Flogging at Firestone?

WGCNEC05logo.gifFairways have been narrowed so much at Firestone that it's hard to even tell when the players are flogging! Because maybe they really aren't flogging it down there when the landing area is firm, 25 yards wide and sloped.

Firestone's bowling alleys for the NEC World Championship event seemed to negate the need to worry about staying in the short grass.

Note to setup people:can't have firm fairways that are only 25 yards wide. It's goofy. You get train wreck golf like we saw Sunday. Either widen them out and firm them up, or soften them if you want to have stupid looking slivers for landing areas.

The highlight was Tiger bombing it into the trees right on 18 and after the shot, looking perfectly content with his position. (While Steve Williams rudely yammered away in his ear as Kenny Perry was about to take his tee shot back. Steve sure is chatty these days!)

Tiger didn't look the least bit concerned that he was in the trees. Because after all, he was so close to the green and would surely have enough of an opening to advance it on.

Remember the old days when he wowed us by hitting 8s and 9s into 18! What was that, 3 years ago? I look forward to watching in try to drive it in the 2007 Bridgestone World Golf Championship.

Of the Top 12 finishers (each securing a T9), only one averaged under 300 yards for the week (David Toms at 297). Only four of those top 12 players hit over 60% of their fairways, with Tiger finishing last among the top finishers, hitting 50% of his fairways.

Again, it appeared that the player who actually worried about hitting fairways would need to be carted away in a straitjacket by Sunday. Over four days, it just seems pointless to waste so much energy on tee shot accuracy when the fairways are so difficult to hit.

Tiger was asked afterwards about his flogging, which he oddly denied this week to tout his driving accuracy.
Q. Can I follow up briefly and just ask you, DiMarco was in here talking about the style of play that's being played out there now and it's so much of a power game. I know you're trying to hit the fairway. Do you worry less about hitting the fairway because of how far you hit it?

TIGER WOODS: You know, I have so much more confidence now in my driving ability than I ever have in my career. I pull out driver on every hole because I know I can put the ball in the fairway. I've never had that ability before. If you look at my days when I had some good years there, I was always hitting 2 irons off the tee and 3 woods and trying to get the ball in play. Now I know I can drive the ball. Look at how well I drove it this week. I hit some bad shots, yes, but they're not like they used to be. As far as I'm hitting it and as many fairways as I'm hitting and as many balls that end up in the fairway and roll through, that was never the case before. I've never had so much confidence to be able to pull out driver. I did it at Baltusrol, I did it here, and I've done it at major championships, and that's cool.

Q. But you don't worry about it if you miss fairways?

TIGER WOODS: Because I feel like I'm not. That's the big difference. That wasn't always the case.
Ah hah! He feels like he's not missing fairways. Here's what DiMarco said after the round.
Q. Tiger got in trouble half a dozen or eight times during this tournament. He just hit an amazing shot to get back in it. When you watch it do you applaud it or is it frustrating to watch?

CHRIS DiMARCO: I don't know if it's frustrating to watch, but I mean, it's the same thing that happens that we've been talking about for weeks and weeks. If you miss fairways by 15 yards, you usually have a lie. If you miss the fairway by a yard, you're usually chipping out. If you look at the way everybody at the PGA last week played coming down the stretch, they were ripping it, hitting it as far as they could, hoping they could chop it on the green somehow and make birdie. That's not how we're used to playing majors. I am, but those guys aren't. I have to because I'm chipping out but then I'm hitting a 60 yard shot after that.