The Tiger roars back!
Until recently, no one would have given golf legend Tiger Woods any chance of resurrecting his form and fortunes on the course. Given what he had been through for over four years, how could they? He was mentally distraught when his marriage broke down. He became both a physical and mental wreck and was a pale shadow of himself when he did try to return. Doctors worked hard. Even four back surgeries were performed. But few, if any at all, could give this amazing golf great a chance to redeem himself. True, there have been great comebacks in other sports. When English cricket needed him badly, Cyril Washbrook stepped out of the Selectors' Room in his 50s and scored a century during the then Ashes series. Veterans like Pancho Gonzales and Ken Rosewall showed they had lost none of the magic when tennis became Open. And, who could forget the great Muhammed Ali in boxing? But for those who follow golf and Tiger Woods, there was doubt whether he could even swing the club the way he used to. But he put all doubts to rest with a second-place finish at Valspar Championship. This was his best result since also tying for second at the Barclays in 2013. It was good timing for the 42-year-old, since the year's first major, the Masters at Augusta, begins in just under three weeks. And, to think that, Woods last won one of golf's four majors as far back as in 2008.
"I keep getting just a little bit better and a little bit sharper," he said."I was not quite as sharp as I would've liked to but I had a good shot at winning the golf tournament." If anything, this provided an indication of how his back was feeling. More importantly, his morale and hunger for triumph were back. He recorded the fastest club-head speed of the season at 129.2 miles per hour on the 14th hole. Four-time major winner Ernie Els liked what he saw. "I'm seeing the normal Tiger, the Tiger I've known for 24 years," said Els. "The Tiger that was not quite the same guy was because of the injuries. He's swinging hard and with confidence."
Woods will look to maintain his form when he competes at the Arnold Palmer Invitational this week. "The golf is right in front of you," he said."You have to think your way around the course and be able to hit a variety of shots. You know what shots are required, and then you have to execute." The Tiger is, indeed, back in the hunt.