Tiger’s return to dominance
12 months ago when a fragile Tiger limped off Doral, few would have envisioned 12 months later he would have accumulated 5 victories in 19 starts on the PGATour. But that’s exactly what has occurred. On Sunday Tiger eased to victory with a certain nonchalance, and won his 1st World Golf Championship since Bridgestone in 2009.
His biggest victory since 2009 appeared effortless; even though formidable opponents were chasing him down.
Mickelson, Mcdowell and Stricker all made early birdies on Sunday, but to no avail.
Even though Tiger started inauspiciously on the Par 5 1st, missing a green in regulation he quickly assuaged any pressure that was on him by birdying the par 4 2nd and difficult par 3 4th. From that moment onwards, victory was inexorable.
On the back of last weeks woeful showing at the Honda Classic where he carded a final round 74 and made 4 double bogeys all week, Tiger bounced back in superb fashion and his game was proficient all week long.
His excellence was conspicuous: He putted exceptionally all week, and broke a personal record. He only needed 100 putts all week beating his previous record of 101 at the 2009 Arnold Palmer Invitational. In the final three round he didn’t miss a putt from within 9 feet; reminiscent of the Tiger of old. If he can sustain this level of consistency with the putter, it will be conducive to success and ominous for his opponents.
The other part of his game that was laudable was his wedge play, a part of his game which has been mediocre over the previous 12 months and has received a lot of condemnation. But this week it was impeccable, and because of it his proximity to the hole was a lot lower which resulted in more birdies.
He’s now won twice in 2013, and it’s quite probable he’ll make it a third in two weeks time at Bay Hill where he’s one 7 times, including a 5 shot victory last year. The last time he won twice before Augusta, was in 2008 which also happens to be the last time he won a major championship. Certainly provides encouragement for his ardent fans. He’s also won 5 of his last 19 starts on the PGA Tour, which is a 26 percent win rate. His winning percentage through 297 starts is also 26%. To put that in perspective: Snead was 23%, Nicklaus was 20%, Palmer was 15% and Mickelson was 8%.
And now what many considered inconceivable at the beginning of the year due to the sizeable lead Mcilroy had established in the rankings, has become quite feasible. Tiger can retain his number 1 ranking before Augusta with a victory at Bay Hill and with his terrific record there, who would bet against him?
The comeback is almost complete.