Sunday, December 04, 2011

Tiger, the way it used to be

I recognize that Tiger Woods.

And it's good to see him again.

When Woods won the Chevron World Championship Sunday with a closing birdie to beat Zach Johnson by a stroke, it ended a two-year winless drought and gave us the most definitive evidence that the guy we once marveled at as he rewrote history is on his way back.

He may never be all that he was -- nobody's ever been as good as Woods was for a time -- but if he can be Tiger again that's good enough.

When Johnson missed his birdie putt on the 72nd hole Sunday, Woods had an eight-footer to win. He may not have always made every one of those but it seemed like he did. That's part of what made him special -- the expectation that he was going to do whatever it took because he did it so often.

He did it again Sunday, making a birdie to win and giving us a fist pump that had been waiting to get out. It seems funny to say but it felt fresh.

There was a time when it was a regular occurrence, bordering on the routine. Not anymore. That's what made Sunday special.

Sure, it was a small field in what amounts to a made-for-television event but it still mattered. A year ago, Woods stood at the same place and lost to Graeme McDowell. This time, he won.

It wasn't perfect but it was good enough and that's perhaps the secret to winning tournaments -- being good enough.

I've heard the question several times recently about whether Tiger can still move the needle the way he once did. Maybe not.

But had Johnson or Rickie Fowler or Steve Stricker won the Chevron, it would have hardly been noticed. Because Tiger won, it's news. The needle moved.

Among the many things we haven't seen from Tiger in a long while is a full and healthy season. It seems as if we might get one in 2012, a season in which his knee and his Achilles are in good shape, his Sean Foley-sculpted golf swing is comfortable and his head is clear.

If he has all that, then all us, Tiger included, can find out if he can still chase down Jack Nicklaus.

That would be something to see.


Anonymous said...

Oh no, the Golf Channel will not be fit to watch for a week now.

Anonymous said...

Green just had to remind 99.9% of readers why we hate that sombeech along with his pos Woods.