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AUTHOR : CHARLIE EPPS

author-charlie eppsKnown as "The Golf Doctor," Charlie Epps has been one of Houston's most respected PGA professionals for 30 years. He is the Director of Golf at Redstone Golf Club, home of the PGA Tour's Shell Houston Open.

Epps teaches two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and second-year Tour player Bobby Gates. Listen to Epps 9-10 a.m. Saturday mornings on Yahoo! Sports Radio on 1560 AM in Houston, channel 127 pm Sirius satellite and 242 XM.

He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Tiger retires short of the mark?

Written by Charlie Epps on 01 October 2010.

Ever since Tiger Woods ran over that fire hydrant last November, his world has been turned upside down. It was his own doing, and he knows it. With the sex scandal that was uncovered, we learned Tiger was living a lie.

He now has a lot in common with guys like Pete Rose, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. They've all suffered public embarrassment...the agony of their poor choices following the ecstasy of remarkable athletic careers.

Prior to the scandal, Tiger portrayed an unbeatable, unflappable persona. We thought he was bullet proof, surely on his way to breaking Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major championships.

Lately, Tiger has been anything but unbeatable.

I've been out on tour with Angel Cabrera most of this season. Twice we've been paired with Tiger, and much has changed between the two up-close looks I had at him.

They first were paired together at Quail Hollow in Charlotte in late May. It was apparent that he wasn't the Tiger we were used to seeing. His focus wasn't there. His golf swing was in disarray. He shot 74-79 and missed the cut.

But what can you expect from someone who was so private for so long and then was publicly humiliated to the extent that he was?

During the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston in September, Cabrera and Tiger were paired up again. This time, I saw an emerging Tiger.

He started the day very friendly as they warmed up on the driving range. Tiger and Angel had friendly conversation in Spanish. Tiger speaks a few key words, and it was neat to see the two champions communicate in Spanish.

Angel is appreciative of everything Tiger has done for the game, and he wants to see Tiger come all the way back and be the Tiger of old. He knows it's good for his profession.

On the first tee, Tiger hit a beautiful iron shot down the fairway, and I could see he was ready to play. His focus was back.

As the round went on, he hit some great shots and a couple bad ones. His golf swing, to my eye, looks very good. In my opinion, his three concerns should be tempo, timing and rhythm. Whenever Tiger got in trouble, he recovered well. He birdied three of the last four holes to shoot 69. He shot three rounds in the 60s and made it to the next state of the playoffs, which made everyone happy.

I really think Tiger has been humbled. He looked much more comfortable and was friendlier to his audience. Several times I saw him interact with fans more than he had in the past, and that was nice to see.

All that is great, but will he break Jack's record? I'm not so sure.

Bobby Jones retired in his prime. The one thing about athletes of today is they start their careers when they're three years old. Tiger has been at this game a very long time, although he is a young man. With what he has gone through, I'm not sure he can ever get back that magic he once had.

It just doesn't last forever. For him to win five more majors and pass Jack is going to be very, very hard. He might go the way of Jimmy Johnson, get on the "Survivor" TV show and ride off into the sunset.

Do I want Tiger to break the record? Yes, I do. Ben Hogan made a great comeback from an unfortunate accident in 1949. Tiger could make one of the greatest comebacks in sports if he overcomes what he put himself through these last 10 months.

But if I had to say one way or the other right now, I think Jack's record is safe...and probably always will be.

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