So, Tiger Woods is taking a line from LL Cool J and telling everyone, “don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years.” Bet you didn’t expect to see those song lyrics in the opening line of a golf article, did ya?
Woods is incessantly asked whether he thinks he is “back”, regardless if it is on the heels of a victory, like this past week at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines or when he misses a cut. He responded this week after winning his 75th career tournament by saying that he “never left”.
It was a good answer, but it wasn’t exactly accurate. Woods may not have left in the sense that he still contended for victories during the 749 day winless streak that ended with the Chevron World Challenge in 2011. But he is nowhere near back to the form that he displayed when he was the undisputed number one golfer in the world for the better part of five years. Personally, I don’t think he will ever get back to that point.
Tiger is no longer feared as he once was. The competition knows he is able to be beaten. That wasn’t the case when he was on top of the golfing world for half of a decade. Tiger’s still one of the best golfers in the world, but he’s no longer invincible.
Even though he may not be back to where he was in his prime, Woods has won four of his last 16 starts on the PGA Tour. That’s definitely better than most, but there’s still something missing. Woods has been incredibly consistent with his game from tee to green as of late, but the intimidation factor that was once there seems to be missing.
Even though I don’t think he will ever be “back”, Woods is still a great golfer. He’s going to win his share of tournaments. If he keeps playing with this level of consistency, he’s going to contend for the number one spot in the world again. He’s also likely to break to the all time major championship record.
But he’s not back.