The last time it happened, we didn’t know. We didn’t know about the women, the affairs, the scandal.
I remember watching the 2008 U.S. Open. I watched as the great Eldrick “Tiger” Woods, with two left leg fractures and a torn ACL in his left knee, beat Rocco Mediate in a playoff to win his 14th Major championship.
Little did I know that four years later, he would still be stuck on 14.
Just two weeks away from The Masters, the questions linger – will Tiger ever win another major championship, or maybe even more importantly, will he break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major victories?
To both questions I say yes.
Despite a three year slump, Tiger is still the best golfer in the world. When he is putting the ball well, he can’t be beat. He is a player that rides on momentum and flourishes when he has a lead.
Last week Tiger got his first PGA Tour victory since 2009 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. It was just what he needed. A taste of victory. Momentum.
At this point in his career, we all know that Tiger is focused on only one thing – winning major championships. While he still plays in other tournaments throughout the year, Woods relishes the big stage and the national audience.
Despite no Tour victories in 2010 and 2011, Woods managed two fourth places at the most hallowed of all golf tournaments. Let me remind you that these were during bad years for Woods.
This year isn’t a bad year. Even before his victory at the Arnold Palmer, Woods shot his lowest Sunday round ever – a 62 – at The Honda Classic, finishing in the second.
I think Tiger is primed for another major victory, and I am not the only one. British “bookies” are already tabbing Woods as the favorite to win The Masters.
Do I think we will ever see the Tiger from the early 2000s that seemingly won every tournament? No, and I don’t think it’s fair to expect that of a 36-year-old. In 2010 Tiger graced the cover of ESPN the Magazine’s “Perfect Issue,” to show that he wasn’t a perfect golfer, but he was trying. Fantastic competition is abundant too in the likes of familiar names like Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington and young up-and-comers Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald.
One thing is for sure though. Tiger is back. And if that famous red shirt is anywhere near the top of the leaderboard on Sunday at Augusta, look out.