tiger woods isn't quite backWith his recent win at Orlando’s Bay Hill CC in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, many would say that Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods has made it back after his fall from golfing and marital grace.  Tiger may never restore his personal image, whatever it was, but he is getting closer to sitting in the King of Golf’s throne again!

It was his first win in 30 months, and it was the 7th time he’s won at Bay Hill.  (For all you golfing stat buffs….Sam Snead won the Greater Greensboro Open a record EIGHT times!).   Actually, as far as his golf game this year, Tiger Woods has performed very admirably…….but let’s just say “he’s no Tiger Woods yet”!   A T3 (Tied for 3rd place)  in Abu Dhabi (after losing the lead in the final round), a T15 at the AT&T Pebble Beach (after ballooning to a final round 75 playing with eventual winner, Phil Mickelson), and a T2 at the Honda Classic (two strokes behind winner Rory McIlroy) before winning Arnie’s tournament.  That would be a big year for most anybody else, but not for the 36-year old Tiger Woods….and I’ll tell you why.

 

It’s never been just about the money for Tiger, although he has now climbed back up to 8th in PGA Tour Winnings this year.   Rory McIlroy is first with $2.39M and Mickelson is fifth.  Speaking about money,  I have to add that we can all agree that NOBODY will ever break Tiger’s amazing #1 career earnings mark of $95.6M…..which is currently over $30M ahead of #2 all-time (Vijay Singh).   It’s always been about winning for Tiger….and being dominant while winning too.  With his solid 2012 start, he’s jumped to 6th in the World Rankings, and the Bay Hill win (his 72nd) ranks him third all-time on the PGA Tour, just one behind Jack Nicklaus and ten behind Slammin Sam Snead.  I’m certain by the time he hangs it up for good he will have more wins that any golfer in history.

 

Hank Haney is not the only one to witness greatest.  It’s probably better from our perspective though because we don’t get blamed for his losses and can leave a restaurant whenever we want!   Where it really counts for Tiger Woods is in the Majors.  His goal since childhood has always been to beat The Golden Bear’s record of 18 majors.  Tiger Woods has reached 14 in just 17 years, whereas Jack’s 18 were achieved over 25 years.  However, Tiger has been “major-less” for the last four years.  He has not won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open, and in my opinion he must win at least one major this year just to get back on track toward beating Jack’s record.

 

Odds makers have him at 4:1 to win this year’s Masters over McIlroy (5:1) and Mickelson (10:1).  Before he’s back all the way, Tiger will also have to win a major by beating McIlroy and Mickelson (his two biggest nemeses) in the process.  No better time to get that all done than this weekend at Augusta!  I can promise you this….if Tiger is leading or even in the hunt come Sunday at Amen Corner, and McIlroy and Mickelson are anywhere near him on the leader board, CBS (with minimal commercials interruptions, as always) will be hosting the most watched sports event of the year!  Take it away Jim Nance………

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