Monday, March 26, 2012
Woods' victory Sunday in the Arnold Palmer Invitational was as impressive as it was overdue. Having gone 924 days between PGA Tour victories, Woods nailed down No. 72 at Bay Hill with a performance that thundered in its impact and execution.
Healthy, in control of his game and in command of the tournament, it felt like five years ago. After a 2 1/2-year interlude, we now return to our regularly scheduled programming.
For months, Woods has been saying he's close, if he could just stay healthy long enough to pull all the pieces together. Words turned his words into a trophy Sunday.
"Pure joy," is how Woods described it.
Nice words because you wonder how much of that he's had the past couple of years.
When it all starts for real next Thursday at Augusta National, after Jack and Arnie and Gary have slapped the ceremonial tee shots into the hill in the first fairway, Tiger goes after his fifth green jacket and and 15th major championship. It's been a long, long time since Torrey Pines in 2008.
Woods hasn't won at Augusta since 2005 but he'll arrive as co-favorite with Rory McIlroy, who exited there a year ago with a final-round 80 that collapsed his chances. Since then, McIlroy has been brilliant and now, it seems, Woods is in a good place again.
The Masters won't be just about McIlroy and Woods. Phil Mickelson inhales inspiration driving down Magnolia Lane. No. 1 Luke Donald is relentless. Lee Westwood still wants a major.
It's a week away. Bring it on.
Posted by Observer Sports at 9:32 AM