Tiger Woods has taken a conservative approach to playing the Club de Golf Chapultepec in the WGC-Mexico Championship, one that Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee called “a strategy…that he would have to know could not win.”
Chamblee made the comment on Golf Central following the third round, when Woods, often hitting less than driver from the tee, fell 10 shots off Dustin Johnson’s lead and six behind Rory McIlroy, who is in second place.
“Like at Hoylake [where Tiger won the British Open in 2006 and only hit driver once in 72 holes], I get that, because his irons would finish out there where the rest of the field was,” Chamblee said. “They would go 300 yards and there was trouble everywhere.
“But here, realizing the success that a Dustin Johnson has had here in the past, and even realizing that Phil Mickelson won here playing aggressive golf, to try to come in here and play this conservative…
“And just to underscore my point, there is a stat that says the percentage of the hole covered by your tee shots on par fours and par fives, there is only one player in the entire field — and that’s Matthew Millar — who is shorter off the tees on par fours and par fives. And by the way, Matthew Millar’s clubhead speed is in the low 100s. Tiger Woods has clubhead speed upwards of 120 miles an hour. So just chew on that a little bit.
“And take a look at the second and 12th holes. I bring these up because these are two holes that Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson are taking driver on and turning them into eagle-able — that’s a word, I heard it on TV today — and birdie holes. Dustin Johnson hit it four feet today [at two] and made eagle, and then here at the 12th, again Tiger Woods, his tee shot went 257 yards and left him 136 yards. Rory’s driving this green. Dustin Johnson is having a go at this green.
“Dustin Johnson has played two and 12 six-under par. Rory McIlroy has played two and 12 four-under par. Tiger Woods has played them two-under par. Prime scoring opportunities, he’s got plenty of clubhead speed to be aggressive, he’s driving the ball as straight or straighter than they are when he chooses to hit driver. It’s just an inexplicable head scratcher to me that he would take on a strategy that…would not allow him to win this tournament.”