Monday, September 22, 2014
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Tiger Woods finally got over the first hurdle in his comeback attempt.  He won a tournament.  Now he is the favorite to win the Masters, which would complete his comeback.  Photo by Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP

After a two and a half year drought, which spanned 26 PGA Tour events, Woods finally takes home a title.  But he has yet to win a major.

By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor
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This past Sunday Tiger Woods put on his red polo shirt, black slacks, and black Nike cap, and for the first time in two and a half years he dominated the field on the final day of a PGA Tour tounament.

It has been a long time coming, and many were starting to believe that Woods could not do it, but after 26 winless PGA events since his marital scandal in November of 2009, Woods is a champion. 

Woods took a one-stroke lead into the final round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, and he looked like the Woods of old, and he extended his lead and was never challenged.  He won the tournament by five strokes.

This win has made Woods the favorite for the Masters, which is less than two weeks away. 

Is Woods all the way back?  The jury is still out on that one, because Woods has reached a level of greatness that only one other golfer has been at.  That would be Jack Nicklaus, who is the only golfer with more major victories than Woods. 

The win this past weekend was great, but Woods is not defined by PGA Tour victories, and he is not competing against the current players.  Woods is defined by major tournament victories, and he is competing against Nicklaus to be the greatest of all time. 

The win at Bay Hill gives Woods the taste of victory that he desperately needed, but he entered the tournament with 14 major titles compared to Nicklaus’ 18, and those numbers have not changed. 

The comeback will be complete when Woods wins at a major.  When he continues his chase of the all time record.

There have been flashes in the past that Woods was getting back on track.  He has played well at certain tournaments, and he even won the Chevron World Challenge, which is not on the PGA Tour, last December.  But every time he appears to regain his form, he has struggled to put it all together.

Woods has been on the verge of becoming a Mike Tyson figure.  After James Buster Douglas shocked Tyson, he was always on the verge of becoming “King of the Ring” again.  Right when the public was excited to see the “Baddest man on the planet” regain his form, he would either suffer a crushing loss, or be sent to prison.

After several trainers, who all promised a return of the old Mike Tyson, he never became the fighter that captivated the world again.

Woods has also changed his personnel over the years, but he may have finally found the right guy in swing coach Sean Foley, who has seemingly resurrected Woods’ swing. 

Many people have speculated that Woods’ problems were stemming from the personal issues, but in reality his putting had failed him.  It may have taken 20 months of work with Foley to get the swing just right, but if he can get Woods back on track to winning, then it was well worth the wait.

The PGA certainly hopes that it all works out for Woods.  With him in the lead on Sunday, the television ratings were up 129 percent over last year’s final round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.  When Woods is on top of his game, people watch in droves.  He has pretty much single handedly driven the sport since he hit the scene in 1996.  Without Woods, golf is merely a footnote in the sporting world.             

 

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