Monday, August 17, 2009

Did Tiger choke? I think so


It's still hard to believe, isn't it? Tiger Woods led the PGA tournament for almost the entire weekend in Minnesota, then got beaten by some guy with a rooster on the back of his shirt.

Congrats to Y.E. Yang of South Korea, who crowed his way to a 3-stroke win over Tiger in the PGA Championship.

But let's not let Woods' undeniable and usually unbelievable greatness cloud the issue here -- Woods choked in the final round.

A 75? In his traditional red shirt, on a Sunday, with a 2-stroke lead going in?!

That let Yang win by 3 strokes.

If you don't think it was a choke job by El Tigre, just ask yourself this: If Woods had been 2 shots down going into Sunday, and Yang then shot a 75, and Tiger had shot a 70 and won by 3 strokes, would you have said Yang choked?

Of course you would.

Look, everyone chokes occasionally in sports. That's part of why it takes more courage to play than to sit on the sidelines.

I don't think Tiger Woods is a bad golfer because of this -- I think he's the best ever. But on Sunday, he wasn't. He showed he was human.

And incidentally, Yang's performance Sunday was only the second-best on Sunday. Usain Bolt's 9.58-second run in the 100 meters -- shattering his own world record -- was the best.

To get a gauge of how fast that is, if that time is translated into the 40-yard dash that football players are always running, it would be roughly 3.5 seconds.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

Actually Scott, it's like running a 3.8 second 40-yard dash. Not a big deal, but it is in sprinter time.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Scott's correct. Don't confuse meters and yards.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that's a fair way of calculating a sprinter's 40 time, since the first 40 yards out of the block are going to be slower than the next 40 (and final 20) since the sprinter has to first accelerate. Therefore it's reasonable to say the second 40 yards and the final 20 yards would bring the average down.

But maybe Scott factored this in.

Maybe I'm reading too much into this.

9.58 is scary fast.

Anonymous said...

Tiger choke, I don't think so. As Scott said, if the shoe was on the other foot, it would be easy to say Yang choked, and even a player of Mickelson's caliber has choked several times in his career. But since Tiger has never choked in his life, I am more inclined to think that the putts just weren't falling for him. It happens to everyone, and it has happened to Tiger in one round of each of the four majors this year. Tiger has some work to do on his putting to get it where he wants, but he didn't miss a lot of putts because he choked. Paddy choked, 2 weeks in a row, great player yes, but I think its fair towonder if he would've won those 2 majors last year if Tiger was in the field. One thing we can all agree on, Y E Yang did not choke. Congrats to him.

Anonymous said...

Yang was mentally tough from the beginning. That was the difference between himself and all the others who have tried to beat Woods over the years.

Anonymous said...

Hey Scott,

How many tournament have you won (71)including 15 majors? Didn't think so!!

Boolady said...

One of the reporters asked Tiger at the post round media session on Saturday if he ever choked in a tournament. Tiger just glared at him and shook his head no.

Some days the putts just don't go.

Anonymous said...

I don't think he choked...well, maybe on the chunk he hit on the last par-5. But overall, not really. He didn't score, and didn't read the subtle breaks any better than anyone else. But that's not a choke...say, in the same vein as Paddy or Mick.

I totally agree with earlier posters--Yang DIDN'T choke, which most of us though he would. And the two CLUTCH shots--the eagle chip-in, and the approach on 18 over the tree--were just WOWZA!

If you don't report on golf every day, it may be relatively simple to suggest--because of the cold hard facts at the conclusion--that Tiger choked. But it just wasn't the case. He was grinding, and just didn't get the train rolling. The wheels didn't fall off.

Anonymous said...

scott you're an idiot. Van De Velde choked, Phil choked. Tiger got beat by Y.E. Big difference. Next time you try to write an interesting post, try harder.

Anonymous said...

Wow - Way to be rude 12:17.

J said...

Scott, I disagree. To say that Yang won because Tiger choked sounds a lot like Serena Williams, who has never admitted an opponent beat her. She always says she made too many errors, she wasn't on her game, etc. Never admits an opponent just whipped her.

Yang just whipped Tiger on Sunday. The eagle chip-in on 14 and the tee shot on 18 were world-class golf shots.

And who cares if there was a rooster on the back of his shirt? Exactly what does that have to do with the quality of the golfers or their rounds?

Anonymous said...

tigger didn't choke, he got beat straight up by a better player on that day....it happens.

Anonymous said...

that rooster comment was out of line. don't demean a player from a country different than yours by poking fun at their choice of dress.

I'd rather play with a barnyard animal on my shirt than to sell out to nike or someone anyways.

Yang is a professional golfer and should be treated as one. Tiger didn't "choke" to some recreational golfer. Yang played amazing, it was a pleasure to watch golf at such a great level.

I wish sports reporters would report on sports...not follow the athletes like hollywood celebs. You could have written a great story on a great day of golf by Yang.

Anonymous said...

who would win in a game of ping-pong?

that would be a good and similarly worthwhile story to write on Scott.

Anonymous said...

Well Mr. Fowler, I thought the better man won the match. Also it showed that Tiger Woods is human.

gogomezgo said...

hey everyone, allow scott to have his own opinion in his article, and you know what they say about opinions...maybe one day he can write an article about how he shot 283 during 4 rounds of golfing at hazeltine...or anywhere else...

Anonymous said...

1:00 just f.y.i. - the rooster is the brand le coq sportif which appearantly yang has as a sponser if you want to call that selling out. Know what you are talking about before just spurting it out. Yang played well, Tiger didnt, Yang deserved the win - thats all

Anonymous said...

not a choke but something bugged me at the end - Tiger should have putted out and let the man have his moment. He showed a lack of class there. Don't get me wrong, Tiger has never had to get out of the other guys way at the end of a major, so it was new territory for him. But if he had given it a little thought, it would have been the right thing to do.

Anonymous said...

Tiger did not choke. He just happened to get beat by a man who played smarter, more error free golf on one particular Sunday. Tiger will eventually attain the record for majors won (barring serious injury).

We the people said...

I don't think he choked either. He hit a lot of great shots and was in total command of his swing all day. However he did put poorly and seemed to be playing not to lose rather than going for it like he normally does in that position. So if there is a "Tiger choke" I guess this is close as you would see. To be fair, Yang played a fantastic round of golf and I believe he had or tied the low round of the day. He certainly earned the victory 100%.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Tiger should have putted out. My wife and I both said the same thing to each other as we were watching. Y.E.'s 2nd shot on 18 was incredible under the circumstances. Tiger just didn't seem to have it going and he played a little conservative. Tiger's opponent usually chokes so this was quite a change - whether Tiger choked or just had a bad day - same result. Fun to watch the underdog win one.

Anonymous said...

Tiger's putts didn't fall. If he had made a handful more the title would be his. Yang did a great job holding Tiger off, all credit to a great final round for the South Korean. It can't be all-Tiger-all-the-time though some woudl have us believe that's the new world order. Good job Yang. Makes some putts Tiger. That's about it.

Anonymous said...

WOW!!! Great article. Finally a reporter that is not sucking the proverbal teet of Tiger Woods. I wish all of you would read your responses of how Tiger did not choke. You sound just as lame as he does. "The putts did not fall" or "I miss hit that shot"! HE CHOKED WHEN THE PRESSURE WAS ON!!!!
Again, Thanks for the article Scott!

Anonymous said...

For this race, Bolt ran the first 40m in 4.64. Since he had not yet reached top speed at 40m, his first 40yds would be right around 4.30 plus or minus a few 1/100s.

http://berlin.iaaf.org/mm/document/competitions/competition/05/30/83/20090817081546_httppostedfile_wch09_m100_final_13529.pdf

Sprinters of this level probably don't TRY to get to full speed before 40m. You also have the hand-timed vs electronic-timed aspect.

One fact is known: He's fast.

Anonymous said...

i didnt see tiger shank his tee shot into the lake on 18 so, um, no he didnt choke. he played 72 holes of golf very well and YE played 72 holes of golf a little bit better. pretty pathetic article here scott, pretty clear youve never played golf either

Anonymous said...

Of course he choked. Those who say not are in denial. Everyone chokes in sports even Eldrick. The pressure got to him. That's why the putts did not fall, he misread them because of the pressure. If this was Phil or Vijay, we would point out the missed putts, the 3 putt on the front nine, the missed green on 17 and 18 and say the pressure got to them. Why is Tiger immune to the same commentary. Because some of us don't want our heros to fail and when they do, they are human just like the rest of us.

Ben said...

The only reason there's all this buzz is because it's Tiger...do you really expect him to win EVERY time out?
Just because you lose doesn't mean you choked...especially when he's only two shots down.
Tiger lost...that's the story...Yang won...Tiger didn't choke...he had a bad day at the office.

Anonymous said...

Choke, don't choke? Noodles, don't noodles? You are too concerned about what was and what will be. There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the "present."

Anonymous said...

tiger showed no class in that, glad he lost.

south koreans are taking over LPGA, the men had better look out.

Anonymous said...

When you shoot a 75 (+3) after playing the rest of the week at -8, you choked. Putts falling or not doesn't differentiate between a choker or not. That's like saying a guy that finishes the baseball season 0 for 20 (all strikeouts) and loses the batting crown, and people saying he just didn't hit the ball.

Anonymous said...

How did Tiger choke? He did not pull the ball in the water and he did not hit the ball out of bounds. Tiger proved he was human and misread putt after putt. We who play golf knows how he feels. Anything that Tiger did on Sunday went wrong and he showed that even the best player in the world can make mistakes. To say that Tiger choked is a strong word. You have to remember, he has only lost one time when having the 54 hole lead prior to Sunday, and that was in 1997. But I guess you have people who say that a 36-1 record prior to Sunday and 70 PGA Tour wins is not good enough and he choked. Tiger has never choked and he will never choke. He got outplayed on one day when he could not make a putt to save his life. Congratulations YE Yang on hanging tough, but you caught Tiger on a day when everything went wrong.

Anonymous said...

Scott, what does Bolt's time come to in terms of MPH.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I would call Tiger's performance choking. Paddy taking 8 while in contention two weeks in a row is choking. For years, Tiger has put the ball in play on Sunday with the lead while everyone else fell apart. This time around, someone actually showed up to play and won. Congrats to Y.E. Now watch Tiger respond by holing everything during the FedEx Cup and run away with it.

B-Man said...

On a scale of 1-10 for "choke"-iness, I'd call this a 6 or 7, but I think it started Saturday. Tiger started to play conservatively and mishit shots like chips, bunker shots and wedge approaches in the 3rd round and the final one. If you look at both weekend rounds where he started with a 4 shot lead, then, yeah, it feels like a choke. It's not a 9 or 10 like a Phil, Paddy, or Van De Velde. I wouldn't even call it worse than Kenny Perry (2 shot lead, 2 holes to play) or Tom Watson (in fairway on 72nd hole with 1 shot lead).

On whether Tiger should have putted out on 18, I totally disagree. At that point, Tiger had a putt for par, down 1. Yang had a putt for birdie. If Yang 3 putts and Tiger makes, it's a playoff. I realize it was a 12 footer for Yang, but he had just 3 putted the last hole. In that situation, you play by the book. He did a great job to make the putt and end it right there.

Anonymous said...

The rooster on his shirts stands for the Chinese year he was born, the year of the rooster. I watched the final round and Tiger choked and got beat by a better player. End of story.

Anonymous said...

He shot a 75 which is 5 over par. That is choking. There is a first time for everything.

Anonymous said...

he choked and will now be in even a fouler mood the rest of the year. fedex cup is his. bank it.

Anonymous said...

That post is nothing short of bizarre. Tiger putted poorly and a bunch of putts lipped out. His ball striking was more than adequate to get the job done. He hit what he though was perfect shot into 17 and misjudged the wind. What on earth does that have to do with choking? Nothing whatsoever. No, I wouldn't say it if it had happened to Yang, probably because I know something about golf.

Anonymous said...

August 17, 2009 4:47 PM

Given the ROOSTER shirt that Scott pointed out.

I say this will make Tiger "fowler".

Anonymous said...

"Tiger Woods led the PGA tournament for almost the entire weekend in Minnesota, then got beaten by some guy with a rooster on the back of his shirt."

What, you're poking fun at golfers for their wardrobe now?

And Yang "crowed his way to a 3-stroke win..."? Is this the best you can do?

Ironic, isn't it, that your last name is Fowler.

Cockadoodledo-o-o-o-, you moron.

Anonymous said...

was he born in the year of the Rooster?

check this out:

A Rooster's ideal careers might be newsreader, salesperson, restauranteur, historian or archeologist, public relations officer, farmer, athlete, teacher, writer, journalist, dentist, surgeon, soldier, actor, security guard, police officer, or artist.

notice it says Athlete. Tiger didn't choke, he got beat by a Rooster.

Anonymous said...

It depends on the definition of "choke". You can choke due to the pressure or you can choke because you didn't play well enough to keep a lead. On the final day, someone who gives up 5 strokes and loses because of it should be a choke. One player's (or team's) come-from-behind win is usually considered another player's choke, in my opinion at least.

To answer someone else's (possibly sarcastic) post, in the 100 meters, Bolt averaged 23.35 mph, but probably hit near 30 in the 2nd half.

tarheelsh8r said...

The sports world seems to think that this loss in a look into a new era of Tiger Woods' Golf. Lets show Tiger a little respect. There has never been a more focused athlete in any sport. Tiger is not going to let this loss effect the rest of his career, if anything it will just fuel his fire. Did any of us really think he was going to go his entire career without ever giving up a lead in the final round of a major? He lost, period. However, is he no longer your favorite to win in all the major championships? If not, you're crazy!

Anonymous said...

Woods had been 2 shots down going into Sunday, and Yang then shot a 75, and Tiger had shot a 70 and won by 3 strokes, would you have said Yang choked?

Of course you would.

Yes of course dope, but you just compared an unknown to the greatest golfer ever. So, in reality it IS MORE likely that Yang woud choke. Nice try, not even close.

Anonymous said...

Comparing track and field to golf isn't a valid comparison. Track and field is a sport while golf is a game.

Anonymous said...

Ok, Tiger Woods lost a major after having the lead through the most of the tourney. That makes him 14-1 in major tournaments. I do not think that is choking, he just had a bad day.

Congrats to Y.E. Yang because he played one heck of a tournament and made history himself and encouraging numerous Asians and people in the world with his win. Tiger Woods is under 35, will probably break "The Golden Bear's" major record within the next 2-3 years, and there is still no golfer in the PGA that can consistently beat Tiger on any given Sunday, especially if it is a major tourney. Did he choke yesterday? I would say he was just being human, but we all know that Tiger comes back stronger when he loses. He may just come back next year and win all 4 majors just to prove a point, but oh, if he only wins 1 or 2 then maybe he is still "choking". Scott, this was one tournament and not Tiger's entire career. Let's see what he does next season.

Anonymous said...

Until Scott is the number ONE sports writer in the world, I don't listen to squat he says.

Anonymous said...

Talk about unsportsmanlike......am i the only one who noticed tiger started moving towards his ball on the 18th just before yang putted? It didn't phase yang because he hit the birdie putt to ice it,but tiger moved enough to cause someone to flinch and see him out of the corner of their eye.I have always thought tiger gets away with alot of the little things because he wins,but sunday,yang showed tiger what it's like to choke!!

Anonymous said...

It amazes me how the sports media (Fowler) can be so critical when they probably never played any sports to begin with. Tiger did not choke. He played and putted terrible and still almost won. Give Yang credit for being aggressive coming home with some of his shots and being successful. Yang deserved to win, but Tiger, in no way, choked. He just had a bad day like Fowler had with this article and opinion.

Anonymous said...

"Yaaaayyyyy....the black man lost!!!"...."he's not the greatest after all".....LOL That's what I got from this article, and a lot of the Posts. "Black man considered one of the greatest, LOST!!!". wow...i can't believe someone actually wrote an article asking if the man "Choked"?? Who does that? He's human, and has lost before in the past. So why is there an article about him losing now? you can't win em all. He'll win some more, trust and believe. He's entitled to take an "L" every once and a while. Just wait'n on the day he surpasses the man ya'll keep comparing his win count too.