Allan Henry/ USPresswire
A year ago I wrote a post called “Will Tiger Win Chevron” and he almost did. If it were not for the phenomenal putting of Graham McDowell, Tiger would have won the Chevron World Challenge in 2010. However, it was not his time; his game was not yet ready to win. In March of this year I wrote another post called “When will Tiger Woods Win again”? Well that was answered today as he beat out Zach Johnson to win the 2011 Chevron World Challenge.
I know we do not need stop the presses and announce to the world that Tiger is back. However, I think the golf world has got to stop and take notice. Even though this was not a full field event there were plenty of good players in the mix to validate this win. The real test will come next season when he has to face the top players in the world on the grandest stage of all, major championship golf. I would be willing to bet he will walk onto the practice ground in 2012 with a little more swagger. I also bet the other players will take more notice as well.
The difference in Tigers game at this event in my opinion from 2010 to 2011 was three things. First, he has control of his golf ball again. At Chevron today he was hitting golf shots that he was visualizing. He was controlling his ball flight, trajectory and distance. Second, he drove the ball pretty well and kept it in play. Thanks to the return of the “Stinger”, a shot Tiger made famous in his career. The Stinger gives him the ability to hit fairways in a controlled manner, with very little risk. One could argue that he stopped hitting the Stinger over the past few years because of his left knee. Anyone that has ever tried to hit a knockdown shot with a long iron knows the tremendous pressure that you put on your leading leg. In Tigers case since he plays right handed his left leg is the leading leg. Now that his knee is healed from the surgery the Stinger shot is back and he can practice it. The final difference in his performance is his putting. He is making putts again when they matter. He is making putts to save par, to get up and down and to win. That is what he did today when he birdied the final two holes when it mattered and he won.
Although I have never really rooted for Tiger Woods I do enjoy watching him play. As a golf fan he is fun to watch because he as the ability to do things on the golf course that very few ever will. He has the ability at times it seems to will the golf ball into the hole. That is special, rare and fun to watch. So, if nothing else this win will make the start of the 2012 season pretty exciting and will make watching golf fun again. After all, who can make the game as fun and exciting as Tiger Woods? The answer is no one and for that reason alone the win today at Chevron was a great “W” as Tiger would say.