There has not been much talk about Tiger Woods, the reigning Masters champion, which is understandable given his lack of results on Tour lately. But on Tuesday night, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee took the opportunity to explore Tiger’s chances this week at Winged Foot. And it’s clear he’s not confident a 16th major win is imminent.
Appearing on Golf Central Live with a darkened Winged Foot as his backdrop, Chamblee discussed where Tiger’s game is at heading into the second major of the year, and identified two major areas he needs to improve to have any chance of lifting a fourth U.S. Open trophy on Sunday, namely, his driving accuracy and putting.
“To have any chance this week he has to drive it straighter. Has to, to have any chance,” Chamblee told fellow host Justin Leonard. “To have a decent chance, he has to putt decent. And he’s been near the bottom of the stats in the last four events coming in here. So these are two huge hurdles for him to get over.”
Chamblee did qualify his analysis slightly, acknowledging that Tiger’s had a lot of time for preparation leading up to the event, and that nothing would inject more energy into the tournament then Tiger going on a run.
“I’m very curious to watch him play. He said he’s had a nice week to prepare, and I’m curious to see the fruits of it,” Chamblee continued. “Nothing would light this place up – even without a gallery – more than Tiger Woods getting near the top of the leaderboard.”
Leonard, the 1997 Open Champion and 1999 U.S. Ryder Cup hero, agreed with Chamblee’s diagnosis, but also noted that Tiger has been more than willing to adjust his game accordingly this season.
“In order to get to the top of that leaderboard he’s got to put the ball in the fairway. He’s made adjustments in his game. I call it small ball,” Leonard explained. “He’s not afraid to hit 2-irons, 3-woods off the tees to get the ball in play to give himself a chance.”
Woods will get his chance on Thursday, beginning at 8:07 a.m. ET, when he tees off Winged Foot’s 1st hole alongside Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas.