Monday, February 04, 2008

Tiger's message: Be very afraid

I had planned to write about someone other than Tiger Woods today.

The idea was to write about how good it was to see Adam Scott pick up a win immediately this year on the European Tour and how Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson were already rattling their sabers this young season.

But Els couldn't close the deal in Dubai Sunday and the Lefthander lost a playoff to J.B. Holmes in Scottsdale, Ariz., and it was Tiger - again - delivering like only he can.

How good can he get?

When Tiger made the turn Sunday in the Dubai Desert Classic, he was four strokes behind someone named Louis Oosthuizen. Two hours later, Tiger had closed with five birdies on the last seven holes to win and he'd landed another uppercut to the psyche of everyone attempting to play the same game he plays.

Tiger has won his past five starts and that may be just the beginning.

Here's how much Tiger has re-framed the discussion already this year: A month ago, the talk was about how this year sets up for Tiger to make a run at the Grand Slam. Now, it's beginning to sound like it will be a surprise if Tiger doesn't win the Slam.

That's stretching a point but Tiger makes us stretch the parameters of what's expected of him. He's taking a couple of weeks off before returning for the World Golf Championship match play event.

The way Tiger's playing these days, even Nick O'Hern - twice a Tiger tamer - may not want a piece of him in the match play tournament. Why would he?