Upon Further Review
10:40 PM EDT, June 5, 2012
What Tiger did over the weekend was remarkable. He did a whole lot more than win a golf tournament. He won it like only he could.
Tiger's chip-in for birdie on the 16th hole conjures up memories of the 2005 Masters, when he did the exact same thing to win his 4th green jacket: Or his amazing putt on the 72nd hole of the U.S. Open in 2008.
Tiger Woods isn't just a guy who wins a lot. We've come to know him as a player who wins in spite the most incredible, unlikely circumstances imaginable. It's shots like these that made Woods seem invincible for an entire decade.
But Tiger's decade of dominance is over.
Don't get me wrong: Sunday's win at Jack tournament could signal the resurgence of his career. His swing looked better than it has in years. He was in control of all aspects of his game. And hitting the ball like that, I wouldn't bet against him at the U.S. Open next week.
But I won't say he's the favorite either.
Woods won at Bay Hill two weeks before the Masters, and then struggled at Augusta. There are no givens anymore like there used to be.
Woods can win, or he can lose. Just like Rory McIlroy, Ricky Fowler or Bubba Watson, or any other great player in today's game.
Which brings me to my point.
Don't expect Woods to dominate the Tour like he did from 1999-2008. This is a different time, with different players. Younger and stronger players. And they're not intimidated by Tiger's game. Many of them grew up emulating it. And they WILL win their share of big tournaments, even IF Woods plays to his potential.
If Tiger stays healthy, I still like his chances of winning 5 more majors and breaking Jack Nicklaus' record of 18.
And while doing that...he'd almost certainly eclipse Sam Snead's 82 PGA Tour victories...and have to be considered the greatest golfer of all time.
But as for the question everyone's asking: Is Tiger back?
He's getting there. But it's never going to be the way it used to.
That era is over.
And this is a new Tiger.
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