Will the real Tiger Woods stand up? And when he does, is it the golfer who cruised through the competition at Bay Hill and rallied to win for the fifth time at the Memorial on Sunday? Or is it the golfer who looked like he was searching for his swing at the Players and the Masters?
For the second time this year sports pundits have gone into a frenzy over Woods’ victory at Muirfield Village on Sunday. Forget that final-round leader Spencer Levin disappeared as quickly as the smoke from his ever-present cigarettes, or that Rory Sabbatini’s psyche is still not up to the task of battling head-to-head with Woods. And regardless of whether Jack Nicklaus called Woods’ chip-in on the 16th hole one of the best he’d ever witnessed, Tiger was very lucky it found the bottom of the cup. While Woods’ career has been defined by his ability to pull off the dramatic shot when the pressure is on – the holed chip at Augusta in 2005, for example, or his shot out of the bunker at Glen Abbey in 2000 – it is simply one shot in a single round. It doesn’t mean the floodgates have opened. It also doesn’t mean that the swing Woods and Canadian swing coach Sean Foley have worked so hard at making second-nature will always show up.
Most of all, it doesn’t make Woods an automatic contender at Olympic Club for the U.S. Open next week.