Paul Azinger on Tiger Woods: 'He can't be confident...his game was in shambles'
So, what to expect from Tiger Woods -- the new smiling, hugging, joyful Woods -- when he reaches the Masters starting line on Thursday?
This was the discussion on ESPN's SportsCenter at the Masters on Wednesday night with its analysts Paul Azinger and Curtis Strange.
"He hasn't played in a long time," Azinger said. "Confidence is an earned commodity, and it's something that Tiger is going to have to earn back. He can't be confident. The last time he played, we saw him play, his game was in shambles. Curtis and I might have been able to give him a little trouble. It was sad to see that somebody could fall that far. What happened? I think that Tiger allowed himself to be over-engineered and possibly over-engineered right out of a career."
Azinger did concede that Woods "looked great to me in preparation this week. On the driving range I noticed that he was rapid-firing balls. That shows me that he's uncluttered his mind somewhat. If you remember a couple years ago, every position [in his swing] was just micromanaged and analyzed, and there was no freedom in that."
Strange said that he expects Woods to make the cut, but "I'd be more surprised if he he were to really play well.
"I think it's baby steps as we go forward. He doesn't come in here fully confident, as Paul said. There's no way. There's nothing to draw from. You get to the first tee shot and try to hit it on the center of the club face. That's as simple as it gets. And you try to put it on the fairway, then you try to hit the 6, 7 or 8-iron on the green, and let the round come to you. He's so used to dominating and overpowering people and golf courses. I think he has to let the game come to him."