My bearish view of the Fall series
Greg Norman's amazing run at the British Open showed what a superb bad-weather player he has been throughout his career. With the possible exception of Tom Watson, Norman might be the best wind-and-rain player of all time. But there's a difference in how he coped with the elements early in his career versus how he did at Birkdale.In his prime, Greg overcame bad weather with sensational chipping and putting. His long game, which consisted of high, soaring shots hit with an all-out swing, was one-dimensional. He judged the wind well and picked the ball clean with his irons, which is important in sloppy conditions. But it was his short game that saved him.The Norman we saw this year was a different player. He hit a ton of punches, bump-and-runs and half shots, and he worked the ball every way imaginable. If Greg had always shown such flexibility, he would have won a bunch of majors. He always had those shots in him but didn't quite have the nerve to execute them under pressure. The funny thing is, it isn't too late. With his "new" game, Greg could still win tournaments.
There is only one upside to Tiger Woods' season-ending knee injury, and it applies to Tiger. With his career having steamed along almost nonstop his entire adult life, a part of Tiger surely has welcomed the layoff and the chance to rest and be a normal person. Not only have the demands of golf been suspended, but some of the ancillary stuff has been shelved, too. Circumstances notwithstanding, it's a nice mid-career break that lets him spend quality time with his wife and baby daughter. I'll bet if you hooked Tiger to a lie detector, he'd admit this "rest" thing isn't all bad.When Tiger comes back, he'll be as dangerous as ever. It'll be like he never left.