On Sunday evening, following his win at The Players Championship, Tiger Woods was asked about the condition of his golf game. His answer was classic Tiger.
“I’m getting better.”
If there’s a more intimidating answer that he could have given, I’m having a hard time coming up with it. Think about it for a moment. If this isn’t even Tiger at his best, what happens to the rest of the PGA Tour when he thinks he’s at the top of his game?
For starters, Woods has played in only seven events on Tour so far, winning four and finishing fourth at The Masters. He’s not even halfway through the schedule he played in 2012 and reached four victories faster than he has in his entire career. His stranglehold on the PGA Tour money list is incredible, at $2.5 million (the approximate winnings of third-place Kevin Streelman) ahead of second-place Brandt Snedeker.
Nearly 1,000 points ahead in the FedEx Cup, Woods almost doesn’t need to even show up to find himself in prime position for the rest of the season.
That’s the catch — Tiger will continue to show up. It’s just what he does.
His win at The Players was probably his most impressive victory this year since the field was so deep and the course so challenging. He didn’t run away from the field like we’ve seen him do so many times, but he didn’t have to. He stepped on his challengers’ proverbial throats by not letting his few mistakes ruin his round. His putter is finally working for him as well — Woods ranks in the top five on Tour in almost every putting stat inside 25 feet.
At this point, Woods is on his way to his best season since 2009, before his personal life came crashing down all around him and understandably took his focus off of dominating golf.
Tiger has always let it be known that most of the tournaments he enters are essentially warm-ups for the four Major Championships. If this is how he warms up, he might be moving closer to Jack Nicklaus‘s record in the very, very near future. He’ll get his next chance in June’s US Open at Merion Golf Club, and I’d be surprised if we didn’t see another championship celebration for Woods in Pennsylvania.