I’m Not Ready to Proclaim Tiger ‘Back’ Just Yet

Tiger Woods
Tiger isn't all the way 'back' on the course yet, but I think his mind might be.

Tiger is back!!! Did you see Tiger dominate yesterday? Tiger Woods is back for sure now!! Tiger destroyed the field yesterday, he is definitely back!!

Have you heard something similar to those statements in the last 24-48 hours or so? I know I have but the strange thing is that I’ve heard them before. I heard them 2012 and I know I heard them 2011 as well. So why am I hearing them again? I mean, how many times can a guy be ‘back?’

Sunday in South Florida, Tiger Woods rolled to a solid victory at Doral winning by two strokes over Steve Stricker (more on him later) even though he made a bogey at the final hole. It was in fact a dominating performance by Woods and one that he has no doubt been seeking, but why do I keep hearing that he is ‘back?’

Steve Stricker
Tiger got some putting assistence from Stricker prior to winning at Doral.

In case you were on a nearby asteroid for the last five years, Tiger Woods went from the world’s most famous athlete to just another guy who makes mistakes. Near the end of 2009, Woods marital woes came crashing down on him and led to an ugly number of truths about his life off of the golf course. After taking time off to get his life back in order, Woods soon returned to the game but everyone wondered when will the real Tiger Woods return?

Any time that Woods wins a tournament, he is without fail labeled as being ‘back.’ I guess I’m not sure what the definition of the word back means in this particular case but in my mind it isn’t this. In the last four weeks, Tiger has won the Farmers’ out in California. Was knocked out in the first round of the season’s first match-play event and then finished at +4 to finish 37th at the Honda Classic where is putting was atrocious.

This past weekend was Woods’ 76th career victory leaving him just six shy of the record held by the great Sam Snead. What we have learned about Tiger Woods over the last four years is that he is after al human just like the rest of us. He feels pain and he feels embarrassment and he can actually choke away a lead. So over the last month, he has recorded two wins and two finishes he’d just as soon rather not discuss. This is not being ‘back’ people.

When Tiger Woods is winning and is contention nearly every time he steps on a golf course, then he’ll be back in my humble opinion. This roller coaster ride of ups and downs is not the Tiger Woods I recall prior to his up close and personal meeting with a fire hydrant and a nine iron. Or was it a six? I can’t remember…

Tiger Woods isn’t back when he gets 45 minutes worth of putting advice from Steve Stricker on the putting green prior to a round. That isn’t the Tiger I remember. There’s no way the ‘old Tiger’ would have ever resorted to such things. He was much too proud for that.

The good news here, is that Tiger has matured. He has grown up and learned to ask for help and advice from places he might not have otherwise. That’s no small step for a guy who has had his ego spoon-fed since essentially birth. Any golfer on tour wants to win before heading into the The Masters’ in Augusta and Tiger can say he’s done that. While I don’t believe he’ll truly be back in the golf sense until he wins another major, he is taking steps in the right direction. You can also bet every cent you have that he’ll be a heavy favorite there as well.

No, Tiger isn’t back to where he once was on the golf course but maybe he is back in a more important place, in his mind.