No matter how good you get you can always get better and that’s the exciting part. That’s Tiger’s own philosophy and he has proven it true, at least for now. Let’s not jump the gun and say he is back for the bloody good but surely give him the glory of return. He is in form, but will he be the golfer he always was? Who knows. Here’s are the top ten things to watch out
1.The Winner Is Back?
One thing Tiger does best – winning. Ending a two and a half year drought, he has won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, working further upon his new swing and improved game visible in the last few tournaments. He is back after 923 days since his win 2009 at BMW Championship. Tiger Woods shouted when he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Sunday. Then he shouted again and hugged his caddie, Joe LaCava. But the big question is without Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald, is this victory too sweet too easy? I guess will watch the real slugfest with the triumvate of golf at the Augusta Masters early April.
2. Up The Rankings
With the Arnold Palmer Invitational victory, Tiger roars back to the top ten at # 6 in the world golf rankings, to the hell (he ranked as low as No. 58 in November) and back.
3. Back At The Bookies?
With Tiger, the bookies are back and so are the big bets. London’s market, which had been missing the buzz, apparently has Tiger listed as the 4-1 favorite to win his fifth Masters title, with Rory McIlroy close behind at 5-1.
4. Tiger is Television Ratings
Love him, hate it but you watch him. Tiger Woods is the real driver of television ratings. A recent poll in January by a sports website showed Tiger Woods as the golfer people are most interested in watching play on TV. Woods grabbed 53% of the vote with Rory McIlroy getting 15% and Phil Mickelson 7%
5. Haney’s Folly (or Foley) ?
Call it a case of bad timing or just good publicity – whichever way you look at it, Tiger’s win came just 24 hours ahead of his former coach Hank Haney’s book launch “The Big Miss” which controversially depicts him as arrogant and refers to Tiger’s injuries as ‘dramas’. I wonder if this book, when out in public with such prophetic timing, will impact people’s view of Tiger and importantly, Tiger himself. So far people have only had snatches from the book. Hopefully The Big Miss won’t look like The Big Mis-take
6. Will He Break Nicklaus’ Record?
Nicklaus won his 14th major championship at the age of 35, Woods won his at the age of 32. The oldest player to win a major championship was Julius Boros at the age of 48 years, four months and 18 days. Woods has 13 more years until he will be older than Boros. Ben Hogan got off the hospital bed within 18 months of a near-death accident in 1950, and he won 11 times, including six of his nine majors.
7. Turning Point For Moneybags?
Will the ressurgence from the slump also signal a comeback of cash? He was worth $75 million by end May 2011. A divorce settlement, a hefty house mortgage, and even a pay cut from Nike, Tiger Woods’ lifestyle has been a lot less exciting but will a victory help turnaround the finances?
8. Will He Regain That Trust?
People have come to terms with the player that Tiger is but not the trust he broke with his lies. There is no way that anyone will believe that Tiger could ever be good for society or even as an idol. It will always be ‘play like Tiger, don’t be like him.’ Few are likely to believe that Tiger is going to make the world a better place. What’s clear, he just wants to play golf and the world only cares about his game, not him.
9. Truth or Hype?
Could the comeback win prove to be a one-time wonder? Like a blast from the past. After all the game’s players have infinitely improved, some new challenges are out there, the cold player strategy is in, Rory is in good form and Luke Donald’s calm can worry opponents. Could Arnold Palmer Invitational go down in history only as the tournament that broke the slump but didn’t bring the comeback?
10. Heal or Heel?
Woods walked off the golf course two weeks ago in the middle of his round at Doral with tightness in his Achilles tendon. He is not new to it and the pain is so high, that Tiger doesn’t even mind cringing in front of a hundred cameras. Having been operated upon four times, there is a high chance this serious health issue may keep swelling up at random.
So will Tiger be Tiger again? Expectations are many. In Tiger’s own words in the past ‘I did envisage being this successful as a player, but not all the hysteria around it off the golf course.’ We do hope the latest wave of good publicity is returned in kind with many more wins.