Keep it simple, pleads Tiger’s old pal Mark O’Meara

As the golf world waits on Tiger Woods’ next move, there appears to be no limit to the number of players both current and former who have advice to offer the 14-time major champion.

Keep it simple, pleads Tiger’s old pal Mark O’Meara

While Mark O’Meara recently added his name to that list, he did so equipped with some additional insight when it comes to Woods and his inner workings.

O’Meara was one of the first players to befriend Woods when he turned pro in 1996, and the two remained close as Woods ascended to his spot atop the game. The two played regular rounds together at Isleworth for years, and it was Woods who put the green jacket on O’Meara after his surprising Masters win in 1998.

He believes that if Woods is going to break out of his recent slump, less might be more.

“If I would tell him anything, I would say, ‘Here’s your ball, go hit it over there,’” O’Meara told the Florida Times-Union.

“Get over there and try to hit some shots in the middle of the clubface, get back to some really simple, easy fundamentals. Don’t try to over-analyse everything.”

Woods is less than two years removed from winning five times on the PGA Tour, but after a chunk-filled performance in Phoenix and an injury-related withdrawal last week at Torrey Pines, he has dropped to No. 62 in the latest world rankings. O’Meara had a front-row seat to Woods’ early rise in the ranks, and he believes the same drive that propelled him to earlier success may now be contributing to his downfall.

“Golf is not a game of perfection,” he said. “The problem is that everyone expects (Woods) to be perfect, including himself, and he’s not.”

While some are poised to pronounce Woods’ career a thing of the past at age 39, O’Meara’s two Major wins at the age of 41 both serve as a reminder that the window of opportunity can sometimes remain open for golfers a bit longer than expected — especially for a player as talented as Woods. “I’d never count him out,” O’Meara said. “When you tell him he can’t do something, that’s when he figures out a way to get it done.”

Woods announced late on Wednesday night he will take an indefinite break from golf as he bids to overcome his latest injury scare and poor form.

The 14-time major champion withdrew midway through his first round at last week’s Farmers Insurance Open in California due to back pain although he has allayed fears over the setback.

Of more pressing concern for the 39-year-old are his recent struggles on the course, with his injury coming six days after he recorded the worst round of his career — an 11-over-par 82 at the Phoenix Open.

“Right now, I need a lot of work on my game, and to still spend time with the people that are important to me,” Woods wrote on his official website.

While Woods does not feel his game is yet up to scratch, he hopes to be ready to play The Honda Classic, which gets underway on February 26.

* Police have arrested a 32-year-old man in connection with the theft of credit cards belonging to golfer Robert Allenby in Honolulu. The 43-year-old golfer contacted police on January 17 after an incident in which he claimed he was kidnapped, robbed and beaten after leaving a wine bar near Waikiki with his caddie following his missed cut at the Sony Open a day earlier.

Police have arrested a man on three counts of second-degree identity theft, three counts of second-degree attempted theft, and one count of unauthorized possession of confidential personal information.

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