The last time we saw Tiger Woods he was mishitting chips at an alarming rate.
The Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee called Tiger’s play around the greens the worst he has ever seen from a professional player. Many, including his old coach Hank Haney, speculated that he had the yips.
After an eight-week absence, he’ll return to play the Masters at Augusta. When he takes the course on Thursday, all eyes will be on his first chip, when he puts those supposed “yips” to the test.
David Westin of the Augusta Chronicle asked a bunch of pros about Tiger’s chipping for a story on Monday. One of the most interesting takeaways is that Augusta is just about the worst possible course to play if you’re struggling with your chipping.
“Perhaps adding to Woods’ problems is Augusta National being one of the toughest chipping courses in the world,” Westin writes. “The areas around the greens are shaved, which means a perfect strike is required, and that’s not all.”
Bernhard Langer, who knows plays on the Champions Tour after winning two Masters, explained what makes it so tough:
“It’s hard because the grass is always against you. A lot of the greens are raised up and the ball rolls off just about every green and the grass is into you. If you catch it just a little heavy, it’s going to be a ‘chilli-dip’ (a mishit). We’re always concerned about that around here.”
You can’t hide chipping issues at Augusta.
No one knows whether Tiger’s woes are behind him. He played Augusta twice before deciding to enter the Masters. On one of those practice rounds he hit some “indifferent chips” and shot two-over, according to Tim Rosaforte. On the other hand, he reportedly shot a worst-ball 66 at his home course in Florida — which would be impossible to do if you were mishitting chips all over the place.
We won’t find out if Tiger is fixed until Thursday.
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