MARCH 26, 2012
Tiger Woods Can Be Even Better
ORLANDO, FLORIDA | Tiger Woods finally
has won again in an event that means
something and he officially has re-staked
his claim as the undisputed heavyweight
champion of golf’s attention span.
Surpassing golf is to be congratulated
always. So let us pause and salute a player
who still might turn out to be the best who
The next challenge for him will be
The Masters, which begins a week from
Thursday. But Woods’ larger task won’t
have anything to do with birdies and bogeys
or azaleas and dogwoods. Tiger has always
been popular. He hasn’t always been lik-
able. There’s a difference.
Somewhere between “Hello, World” in
1996 and the aftermath of the fire hydrant
that blew his cover three Thanksgivings
ago, he stopped being the distant darling
of a large number of his faithful follow-
ers. Gone, too, were the days when the
ultra-bright smile made up for the deadly
dullness of so many guarded, sometimes
snarky, press conferences.
Maybe it’s too much to ask. Maybe if
you’re born round you don’t die square.
Maybe that chip on his shoulder that we
used to admire – until the charm wore off –
Or maybe we’re the ones that need to
get over it.
Until Bay Hill, it had been almost two-
and-a-half years since Woods won on Tour,
at the BMW Championship. And his break-
through week at Palmer’s place had gotten
off to an inauspicious start in Wednesday’s
pro-am. A camera clicked in his backswing.
He tried to stop the club. And the next thing
anybody knew he was limping. Thankfully,
by the end of the round he had walked it off
and insisted he was “good to go.” A 3-un-
der-par 69 Thursday followed.
“My bad days aren’t as bad as they used
There’s really nothing “bad” about a 69
to be,” he said in a rare moment of candor.
until you put it in the context of the Friday
65 that featured seven birdies, no bogeys
and catapulted him to a share of the 36-
On the 10th hole Friday, a wayward
drive bounced fortuitously off a storm fence
and back to a spot where Woods had just
enough stance to knock his second on the
green and save par.
On the short par- 5 16th he slammed his
club into the ground after impact only to
watch as his second shot clear the green-
side water hazard by inches. Two putts
later he had another birdie.
These breaks turned out to be clues.
Saturday brought a workmanlike 71 that
left him alone in the 54-hole lead at 11 un-
der, one shot ahead of Graeme McDowell,
Ernie Els lurking three back. The stage was
set. Tiger was just 18 holes from the only
place he’s really ever been comfortable.
(265, - 19)
Gets in the
car crash in
from The Players
coach Sean Foley
from The Players
(278, - 10), an
62 at The
to finish T2
(275, - 13)