Tiger aims to tame Monster

TIGER WOODS and Pádraig Harrington have the opportunity to atone for recent dismal performances at the WGC Cadillac World Championship over the Blue Monster course in Doral, Florida, which starts on Thursday.

Woods has gone 18 tournaments without a victory and has tumbled to fifth in the world rankings while Harrington’s last significant success (if you exclude the Iskandar Johor in Malaysia last September) came in the 2008 US PGA Championship.

There are few signs either are capable of ending such a barren run given the manner of their first round exits from the WGC Accenture World Championship a fortnight ago.

Woods has won this title six times, including a hat-trick of successes from 2005 to 2007 and is desperate to add to that tally.

Harrington is also searching for a decent performance to halt his downward rankings spiral. If self belief counts for anything, Harrington has nothing to fear as he continues to insist his game is in good shape and that all the tinkering with his swing will reap a rich dividend.

Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, despite all the plaudits, has won just twice as a professional — once in Dubai in 2009 and last year at Quail Hollow. Those who wonder why his talents have not reaped more rewards should remember that McIlroy is only 21 and still learning.

The golfing world will soon be his oyster, especially when he learns to fight for every shot. However, it was disappointing and a little too familiar to see him run up three successive double bogeys through the 15th, 16th and 17th, the so-called “Bear Trap”, in Saturday’s third round of the Honda Classic.

When he stood on the tee of the short 17th and surveyed the massive lake between him and the flag, you just knew he was going to dunk it.

He duly obliged and went on to sign for a 77 that left him out of the running for a worthwhile slice of the prize fund.

A 75 on Sunday saw Rory finish 16 under par with only four players behind him.

All the while, Graeme McDowell was again impressively demonstrating the composed and able golfer he has become.

He struggled early on with the difficult conditions in the Honda but never showed signs of throwing in the towel and on Sunday he shot a faultless six under 64 to move from 20th up to 6th for his second top 10 of the year on the US Tour. He stands fourth in the world rankings and if he maintains this level of performance, then the top spot could be his in the near future.

Meanwhile, the death of Munster Council chairman Michael Cashman has caused great sadness in amateur circles. He served the game from the time he joined the council as the East Cork delegate in 1984. He served in the onerous and time-demanding job of Hon Match and Handicapping Secretary from 1997 to 2008 when his work was fittingly recognised in his promotion to chairman.

Mick worked selflessly within the GUI to produce a stream of great golfers who adorn the world scene and have brought considerable honour to our country.

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