by Jeff Skinner
Tiger Woods knew his game would come around even if many of his detractors didn’t. Woods continued his amazing comeback season with his third win of the year at his own A.T.& T. National on another grueling day at Congressional Country Club.
Woods was battling with Bo Van Pelt as they were tied for the lead most of the final round. When both players birdied the fifteenth hole it turned into a match play finish. But they both wavered with bogeys on the difficult sixteenth hole to fall to eight under par for the tournament.
Woods held his nerve down the stretch but Van Pelt hit his approach long on seventeen and failed to get up and down. His bogey dropped him to seven under par and Woods had the lead by one going into the last.
Two perfect shots, a fade off the tee and a draw into to green, put Woods in command as Van Pelt again felt the pressure and bogeyed his third straight hole. Woods two putted for a two stroke win and an exclamation point finish.
It was the 23rd time Woods had come from behind to win on the PGA Tour and the 74th win of his career leaving him only eight wins from the all time leader, Sam Snead.
No one can doubt that Tiger is back now. This was his third victory in his last seven starts and his fourth top ten finishes. He is the fourth ranked golfer in the Official World Golf Rankings and the top American.
Woods has pushed his career winning percentage to a mind boggling 27.3% (74 wins in 271 tournaments.)
As expected Woods was happy, as happy as he ever looks with the win. And he wasn’t shy with the needle with those who had said he would never win again. Asked what parts of his game came together over the past months he said, “Pretty much everything…I remember there was a time when people were saying I would never win again. That was I think about six months ago… here we are” with a big smile on his face.
Woods can be smug, his game has come around and he’s a threat whenever he tees it up.
When his career accomplishments were mentioned he always made sure to reference the fact that he has done all of this at only thirty-six years old. That’s Tigers way of saying, ‘Hey guys, especially all those that wrote me off… I am here, I’ m back and I have a lot of years left.’
Some will say he’s not Tiger until he wins another major but we’ve had a year where the top rated golfer in the world has no major. The way Tiger’s playing he’s not just the “Fan Favorite” going into the Open Championship and The PGA, he’s the real, legitimate favorite.
In his press conference, this year’s accomplishments were compared to his 2009 season where he won six PGA Tournaments. He said,” Well, yea, I had a good year that year. I won six times I think that year. So that would be nice if I could get that total with a couple majors in there.”
He did say that his confidence had slipped over the past year, but no longer. The way he is playing and with his confidence now back to the ‘normal Tiger Woods’ level there’s no limit on what he can do the rest of this season.
The scary thing isn’t Tiger’s game. The scary thing is that he has his game back, his confidence back and there’s a very big chip on Tiger’s shoulder.