Playing hypotheticals in sports is always a difficult proposition because you don’t know how the events that followed would have changed. But in the case of Tiger Woods and his disastrous 15th hole in the second round, it seems pretty clear that he would be tied for the lead at The Masters if it never happened.
In his career, the 15th hole is Tiger’s easiest at The Masters. And if he doesn’t hit the flagstick in Friday’s second round he is probably going to birdie that par-5 again.
Instead, the ball hit the stick, went in the water, and he bogeyed the hole. He was later assessed a 2-stroke penalty because of an improper drop, giving him a triple-bogey on the hole. That is a 4-stroke swing all because his third shot on the par-5 was too good.
And as Tiger gets set to start the final round on Sunday, he just happens to be four strokes behind the leaders, Brandt Snedeker and Angel Cabrera, who are both at 7-under through three rounds.
Historically, a four stroke deficit is very hard to overcome on Sunday. Since Jack Nicklaus’s win in 1986, only 2 golfers have overcome 54-hole a deficit of more than three strokes (Charl Schwartzel was four back in 2011, Nick Faldo was six back in 1996 and five back in 1989).
But considering Tiger has played better than his score would indicate, nobody should count him out.
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