Is Tiger back?

There has been a lot of talk about whether or not Tiger is “back” after his first win in 923 days (is it really that long?). Here’s my take.

He isn’t “back” because he never went away. I don’t believe you ever lose your game and that it’s always somewhere inside of you waiting to be let out. So I don’t think he ever lost it – his golf has been fairly good. He hasn’t been winning but it hasn’t been too far away.

What happens is playing the game becomes less of a priority, as you focus on other things. And it’s fair to say Tiger has had a few things on his mind. I would also argue that all of his off field issues probably haven’t hurt his game as many would think. Tiger is a master at blocking out distractions and focusing on the job at hand. He no doubt had all kinds of issues to deal with prior to the fallout in late 2009 and he was still able to win and play incredible golf.

His biggest issue is the swing changes and constant tinkering with his game. I personally believe they’re a waste of time as I just can’t see how any individual can tell Tiger something that’s going to be constructive. Really, what could one say to Tiger that he hasn’t experienced or worked out for himself? Here’s an example,

Tiger is 189 yards out in a fairway bunker, slightly downhill lie and into the wind. He has gotta clear the lip and fly the ball over water to a tight pin. What would you tell him? What could you tell him that would make a difference? Absolutely nothing other than “hit the ball Tiger”. He’s the perfect man for the job (because he is so bloody good) and any instruction would get in the way. And this goes for a putt, drive or anything in between. His reliance on swing coaching has never made sense to me. It’s a distraction that he doesn’t need.

And there’s a good lesson here: If swing changes and tweaking hurt Tiger Woods, what is it doing for your game?

I’m fairly certain Woods wasn’t thinking about his swing hanges as he played the back nine Sunday. He seemed for all money he was letting go, freewheeling and focused on playing the game.

He will probably come out and start winning again and all the experts will say it’s because the changes have taken affect. I will argue that it’s most likely he has gotten sick of the changes and he has reverted back to playing automatically and naturally.

Whatever the case, it was good to see Tiger win again. There’s something different about tournament golf when he’s in full flight and the rest of the year should be very interesting.

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