I prefer to read Bill Fields's lengthy essays in print, but I couldn't help sneaking a peak at his Southern Hills piece and mercifully, he called Woody Austin on some of the more bizzarre assertions from his press conferences.
Austin reiterated the notion of a double standard regarding Woods when it comes to more mundane slams of club to turf. "That's his 'competitive fire,' is what it's called," Austin said. "He's 'competitive,' he is 'aggressive.' I do that, I am a 'loose cannon.' I 'can't control' myself. I'm not competitive? It's like I'm not good enough to get mad. He's good enough to get angry all the time? Why can he get mad more than me, but it's competitive fire as opposed to somebody who is too hard on themselves? I don't get it."
The topic of Woods crept into much of what Austin had to say last week, but parts of his critique made more sense than others. Austin insisted repeatedly, for instance, that he had outplayed Woods in the second round even though the world No. 1 shot a 63 to his 70. "I watched [his round on TV]," Austin said, "and I had it inside him all day long. I outplayed him by at least four or five shots, and he beat me by seven."
That is a cockeyed view because golf is not only a gauge of ball-striking skills but also of how capably good shots can be converted into birdies. Austin must know that, but his view is jaundiced by his history as an above-average player until he gets a putter in his hand. "I'm a very nervous person, I have a lot of nervous energy, and it shows [when I putt]," Austin admitted. "It's very hard to make a putting stroke when you're real nervous; it's a lot easier to make a golf swing when you're real nervous as opposed to putting."