Tiger's Roar Will Return and Scare Peers
So Woods has eternally lost his big-and-bad ways?
I'm not buying it, and neither should you.
No question, the guy is struggling a little with his driving -- along with his pitching, chipping and putting. And maybe you've heard that he also is having a few issues at home with his wife.
Well, this too shall pass. No offense to Elin Nordegren, but Woods loved golf long before he did his future spouse. He was groomed to prosper in the game for just shy of forever by Earl Woods, his deceased father, whom he nevertheless still seeks to please.
So Tiger will find a way to become Tiger again, because he always has no matter what.
Until then, the doomsayers will remain among the foolish by saying Woods won't regain his magic. They suggest he'll never become the same bogeyman who spooked the supposedly equal likes of David Duval, Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh along the way to 14 major titles, 10 PGA Player of the Year awards and $1 billion in earnings.
Mostly, they suggest gifted youngsters on the PGA Tour are shoving old-man Tiger at 34 into the sand trap of irrelevance.
They cite Rory McIlroy as an example after the 20-year-old captured the Quail Hollow Championship with a slew of pretty shots on Sunday in Charlotte, where Woods played only until Friday when he did all kinds of crazy stuff to miss the cut.
Elsewhere, Ryo Ishikawa shot a 12-under 58 on Sunday in Japan for the lowest score ever on a major tour.
Oh, and if you believe the doomsayers, ancient Phil Mickelson (at least compared to McIlroy and Ishikawa) is officially over his long-time Tiger phobia since Mickelson just won his third Masters. Plus, he is within reach this weekend at The Players Championship of ending Woods' record streak of 258 consecutive weeks ranked No. 1.
All of these reports of Woods' pending demise go back to one tournament. I mean, just ONE. Courtesy of his missing a cut for just the sixth time in his 14-year career after his Mother of all Meltdowns in Charlotte, the doomsayers are giddy to the extreme. They are boasting that Woods won't return as somebody who dominates as much as by what others think he will do as much as by what he actually does.
The truth is that come Father's Day, when the final round of the U.S. Open unfolds along the Hallmark postcard site that is the Pacific Ocean at Pebble Beach, Tiger will be Tiger again.
I think. Here's why I'm hedging just a bit: One moment Mike Tyson was Mike Tyson, and the next, after meeting the fists of Buster Douglas, he was much less than that. And remember the invincibility that was Michael Jordan? He wasn't exactly His Highness after he exchanged his Bulls jersey for one with a Wizards logo.
You can lose your intimidation factor in a flash.
It's just that Jordan was near the end of his career. Woods isn't. In fact, at 34 as a professional golfer, he is in his prime.
The Tyson thing was different, too. Prior to Buster Douglas, Tyson had that Robin Givens mess, and he did the foolish thing by firing trainer Kevin Rooney, his most important asset in boxing after the death of Cus D'Amato, his mentor inside and outside of the ring.
If you believe the tabloids (about Woods admitting to physical contact with 120 or so women during their five-year marriage, and about wife Elin back in Sweden finalizing divorce proceedings), Woods had his own version of the Givens-Rooney distraction before his Buster Douglas.
That is to say that, according to the doomsayers, Woods' Buster Douglas was his disaster in Charlotte. There was his three-putt bogeys on consecutive holes on Friday. There was that flop shot that kissed water after it skipped across the green. Finally, there was his 7-over-par 79 for the second-worst score of his pro career.
Tiger isn't Tyson, though.
Slightly before and definitely after Buster Douglas, Tyson wasn't the most diligent worker at his craft. In contrast, Woods was such a person before Charlotte, and he remains that way.
Here's another thing: While the doomsayers always mention Charlotte, they conveniently forget about Augusta. Woods finished tied for fourth at the Masters. Not only that, while the Quail Hollow Championship is a nice tournament, the Masters is the first of the year's four major tournaments. And there was Woods, finishing high in the top 10 at the Masters despite not swinging a golf club in competition for five months after his infamous vehicle crash.
Sounds like the guy just had a bad couple of days in Charlotte.
You also shouldn't expect much from Woods this week in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., during the unofficial fifth major called The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. He hasn't won the event since 2001, and he has finished in the top 10 once in the aftermath of that win.
It's all about major titles for Woods, and the next one is the U.S. Open in late June. He'll have many practice sessions and several tournaments between now and then.
So unless this Tiger doesn't become that other Tiger on a consistent basis, you have to say this Tiger will go back to the future.
The doomsayers' counter? That one tournament.
Tiger's whole career.