Tiger Woods Needs His Confidence To Be A Winner

Woods bogeyed his first three holes Saturday in the Australian Open, and it didn’t get much better from there. He managed only two birdies on a good day for scoring, shot 3-over 75 and went from a one-shot lead to six shots behind John Senden.

It was only the third time since Woods’ last win two years ago that he had at least a share of the lead after a round. And it was the third time he was over par.

This round made him a long shot to end the longest drought of his career. Only once has he won a tournament when trailing by six shots or more going into the final round, and that was nearly 14 years ago in Thailand.

Senden, who won the Australian Open five years ago at Royal Sydney, birdied his last two holes to finish off a 9-under 63, giving him a one-shot lead over Jason Day going into Sunday at The Lakes.

Day celebrated his 24th birthday with a 68, giving him a shot at winning in his first trip home to Australia in nearly five years.

Greg Chalmers had a 67 and was two shots behind, followed by Nick O’Hern (66) and Nick Watney (68), one of eight Americans who came to the Australian Open to get ready for the Presidents Cup next week at Royal Melbourne.

”I just got off to an awful start,” Woods said. ”The round should have been an easy 71, no problem. I played the par 5s bad, I didn’t take care of 13. But if I take care of the par 5s and make a couple of putts, it’s a 1 or 2 under round. But I made nothing today.”

Woods hit two good shots, but the approach was a yard long and tumbled off the side of the green to leave him a tough chip that he conservatively put 15 feet by the hole. Then came an approach from the adjacent fairway at No. 2 that went over the back of the green and left another challenging pitch that he put 30 feet by the hole.

Woods followed with a 7-foot birdie on the fourth, but settled into a routine of fairways, greens and two-putt pars that on this day caused him to lose ground with the leaders.

Scoring is better on the back nine, but that’s where Woods fell apart.

After missing a short birdie on the 10th, he hooked his drive on No. 11 that rattled around a portable toilet and settled under a pine. Looking for a way out, Woods said to photographers crowded by his line, ”Can you get the hell out of the way?”

There wasn’t noticeable anger in his voice, but it showed his frustration in the round. He chipped from under the tree, through a patch of sand and next to a crushed beer can where the gallery had been sitting. Then, he hooked a fairway metal into the gallery, pitched on to about 45 feet and settled

Asked if he were disappointed, Woods replied, ”Well, 75s are never exciting.”

He wasn’t giving up on his chances to win for the first time since the Australian Masters two years ago in Melbourne.

Senden was the odd man out when International captain Greg Norman made his two picks for the Presidents Cup. He went with Aaron Baddeley, based on his play in the Tour Championship.

John Cook doesn’t hesitate to tell people that his friend Tiger Woods will be a winning golfer again.

Cook’s friendship and abiding belief in Woods as a player was certainly one of the reasons the two-time Bob Hope Classic winner was picked by U.S. captain Fred Couples to fill an assistant captain’s position for the Presidents Cup next week in Australia. Cook fills the void created when basketball’s Michael Jordan withdrew from the job because of the ongoing NBA lockout. Jordan had been one of Couples’ assistant captains in the 2009 Presidents Cup.

“I’m honored, really am honored about this,” Cook said. “I’m not taking it lightly. I think that I can help. I’ve never been in this role before, but I’m anxious to meet and to learn more about the young kids and how they play golf.”  His friendship will be there for Woods.

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