Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tiger Must Tame Game to Win Open

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tiger Must Tame Game to Win Open

Article excerpt

The golf world held its collective breath in anticipation of him

winning the U.S. Open. Not since Jack Nicklaus in 1972 had

anyone successfully claimed the first two legs of the Grand

Slam. No Masters champion ever was subjected to such an intense

spotlight as what greeted the 21-year-old before and after his

arrival at Congressional Country Club.

It only made the mountain facing Tiger Woods that much harder to

climb. For all his tremendous length off the tee, Woods showed

that, for now, he's still short on the discipline needed to win

golf's most difficult major. And that's no disgrace because

nobody except Nicklaus had that kind of patience at Tiger's age.

So you might say golf lost when its most compelling figure

failed to get into Open contention. But, ultimately, Tiger is

probably better off finishing tied for 19th because he needs

this temporary humility as much as the sport needs his magnetic

presence.

For a kid so passionate about winning, so concerned about his

eventual place in golf history, the lessons taken from his first

U.S. Open as a pro may well serve Tiger's career better than if

he had actually lived up to the overindulgent buildup given him

going into it.

Until Woods' impetuous and fatal third round on Saturday, this

was never the U.S. Open. It was the Tiger Closed.

The fans' and media's fixation on him had reached such titanic

proportions, it almost guaranteed that Woods would be something

far less than the Jordanesque figure who so thoroughly

demolished The Masters field. Though Scotland's Colin

Montgomerie issued an astute pre-tournament warning about how

the U.S. Open would be a much different animal for Tiger to

tame, nobody really listened.

"Tiger Woods was very comfortable playing that golf course at

Augusta," Montgomerie said Wednesday. "Here, it is different.

He's going to run out of fairway on a number of holes. It takes

possibly his greatest asset, which is length, more out of the

equation and gives us mere mortals more of an opportunity to

compete."

Montgomerie said what Tiger's troops didn't want to hear. …

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