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Golf Australia Express : July 2014
Woods probably learnt his Hoylake lesson at the opening couple of holes of the third round the last time he was there. He chose a 3-wood off the first tee and promptly landed in a fairway bunker. He unsheathed the same club on the second tee and again found the fairway sand. From both bunkers, he was forced to waste a shot by playing out sideways. Such is the precarious tightrope that exists on almost every hole at this rare Open venue, with danger waiting precisely where you want to stick your next shot. Lesson learned, Tiger. For much of the remainder of the final two rounds, Woods simply took those threats out of play by routinely ensuring he came up short of them. It created a bizarre spectacle: one of the world’s longest and most powerful hitters — at the peak of his powers — consistently playing his approaches from some 50-70m behind his partners. It wasn’t that it was an overly audacious strategy. It was just that no one else seemed willing to try it. It helped that Woods’s long iron play was simply sublime. Despite playing approaches from considerably longer distances, Woods missed just one green in regulation on Sunday. But now, the caveat: in 2006 the conditions could not have been less Open-like. Sunny and with a breeze that wouldn’t have floated a feather, the conditions allowed Woods and his competitors to play every hole exactly as they liked. Sub in some potent winds this year and the choices will likely be taken out of their hands. They’ll need their drivers, and that’s when Royal IT WASN’T THAT IT WAS AN OVERLY AUDACIOUS STRATEGY. IT'S JUST THAT NO ONE ELSE SEEMED WILLING TO TRY IT.