Azinger on Woods: 'When Tiger says rust...it's a signal he doesn't know what the problem is'
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Tiger Woods has been dissected in recent days more than frogs in high school biology classes. Yet one man's opinion was conspicuously absent — until Saturday morning.
Paul Azinger, now an ESPN analyst and among the more astute observers of the game, finally weighed in on Woods' issues that included a career-worst score of 82 in the second round of the Waste Management Open here, and none of what he had to say was complimentary.
"When Tiger says rust, to me it's a signal that he doesn't know what the problem is," Azinger said on ESPN Saturday morning. "I feel he's as confused as he's ever been in his career. Byron Nelson used to say there's two kinds of players, those that need to know a little and those that need to know it all. Which one do you think's easier?
"Tiger's in a mode where he has to know it all. Technically and physically I think he felt like he peaked and that he needed more information to get better. In his quest to get better, Tiger's actually gotten worse and now he's confused."
Woods' on-course demeanor is different, too, he said, and not in a productive way.
"I see him walking down the fairway with Patrick Reed the other day," he said. "Tiger used to be uncomfortable if you were comfortable with him. Now he's uncomfortable if you're not comfortable with him. That's a big difference for a guy who used to show up on Sunday with black pants and a shirt the color of blood. He wanted to intimidate guys like Patrick Reed, not bond with them.
"Tiger wants to be accepted by the players more. That's a major paradigm shift in his personality. Tiger was the kind of guy who once he got you down he would step on your back. Tiger was always more comfortable if you were uncomfortable with him and that has really changed and it's changed to his detriment."