Monday, July 02, 2012
Love him or hate him, Tiger Woods is back. Not all the way back, mind you. But he’s back.
After a drought of almost 2 years which had a lot to do with personal problems off the course, Tiger Woods has won 3 times this season on the PGA Tour including Sunday’s win at Congressional.
Woods’ win at the AT&T National Sunday was an historic one. It was his 74th career victory moving him past Jack Nicklaus into second place for career wins only 8 behind Sam Snead’s record of 82 career wins.
Woods’ revival is interesting in that it seems to evoke a wide spectrum of emotions from golf fans.
For those who love Tiger, his renaissance on the links is more than welcome news. But what’s interesting is, that even some of his detractors are thrilled that his game is back.
Love him or hate him, every golf fan understands that Tiger Woods is good for golf. But a winning Tiger Woods is great for golf.
In all due respect to the Bo Van Pelt’s of the world, had he won Sunday, there would have been little more than a yawn from the collective golf world. Okay, maybe that last part was a little overstated because any time someone outduels Tiger to win on Sunday, that is considered major news. But if Van Pelt had defeated, say, Adam Scott, would anyone have really cared?
It has been written here before and worth repeating that the PGA Tour and the sport of golf needs Tiger to be relevant. When he is on the prowl atop the leader board, people watch the sport. When he’s not, they don’t.
Anyone with half a brain realizes that it is highly likely that Woods will eventually catch and surpass Snead as the winningest golfer in Tour history. The more interesting thing to track will be whether Woods can truly regain his dominance as the top-ranked player in the world and capture and surpass Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships. Because being “all the way back” for Tiger means not only winning multiple tournaments, it also means winning majors.
Woods is currently stuck at 14 major championships with his last win in a major coming 4 years ago at the 2008 US Open. His performance over the weekend at the Olympic Club last month where he was a combined 8-over par tells us that there are still some kinks to be worked out in his game.
Still, having just won for the second time in his last 3 tournaments, Tiger is on the prowl once again. And I don’t mean for Perkins’ waitresses.
Woods is atop the PGA Tour’s money list having earned more than $4.2 million dollars already this year. He’s #1 in the FedEx Cup standings as well and has vaulted all the way up to 4th in golf’s World Rankings. All of this is music to the ears of Nike CEO Phil Knight whose smile has to be larger than any Nike swoosh.
So whether you love him or hate him, rejoice golf fans. Because Tiger Woods is back and pro golf is much better off because of it.