Tiger Woods Regains Top SpotBy azgolfer • May 9th, 2013
Much has been made of Tiger Wood’s dramatic demise that saw him slip to a career low world No58 in 2011. Once the most feared competitor in golf, Woods’ demise was so extraordinary that many onlookers believed his career at the top was all but over.
Knee injuries ruled Woods out for a large part of the 2008 season, while a year later news of his numerous marital infidelities received widespread media coverage, prompting Woods to take a four month break from golf. Shortly after coach Hank Haney resigned and things went from bad to worse as Woods struggled with form, failing to win a single tournament throughout 2010.
The scale of his achievement in returning to the world No1 spot is testament to the character of arguably the greatest golfer ever lived and is looking back to his best with three tournament wins already for 2013. Still, Woods hasn’t won a major since June 2008. It’s tempting to dismiss this milestone until Woods wins another major, to add to the fourteen he won between 1997 and 2008. With the Masters only days away it will be fascinating to see how he copes on the biggest stage again as favourite.
Some have credited Woods’ new girlfriend Lindsay Vonn with his excellent recent form. Since he has started dating the Olympic skier he has won three out of five tournaments and appears much more relaxed.
The electric form Woods has demonstrated in 2013 is largely thanks to his putting being back to its confident and aggressive best, in addition to some putting tips from good friend Steve Stricker on the practice green at Bay Hill last month.
“I don’t really know too much about his personal life, but it just seems like he’s happier, whether that means his golf game or his personal life are in better order or all of the above. Yeah, it just seems like I think he’s got some confidence going in both areas, you know, and he’s playing well and putting well and feeling good about everything” Steve Stricker said.
Two-time U.S. Open champion Andy North added; “You very seldom see a player play exceptionally well when they’ve got issues going on off the golf course.”
Tiger’s revival has required patience and discipline. He has switched coaches, rearranged his swing and put countless hours in on the practice greens. The adjustments he has made to his putting technique are subtle, yet he tops the PGA Tour’s ranking in strokes gained from putting, per round and has holed out 16 times from 37 attempts between 10ft and 15ft.
Despite Wood’s ruthlessness with the putter this season, his driving, which was once one of his biggest assets, has been inconsistent of late. He can no longer drive himself out of trouble unlike in previous years. Woods is 145th on the PGA Tour for driving accuracy, sitting at just 55%. Players such as Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Keegan Bradley, while well short of Woods’ experience, will readily out-drive the world No1 on a course now playing more than 7,400 yards at its full length which may thwart Woods from winning another major any time soon. ¬
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