Now that Tiger Woods has gotten himself back in the win column, it's no surprise that those who judge golf for a living are looking for more. Woods went 30 months between wins, and though he has made significant progress in the past 6 months in his quest to return to the "Old Tiger," many in the golf media are proclaiming that he won't he won't officially be back until he wins another major championship.
For Woods, expectations are always huge, but denying that he's back to his old form is short-sighted. His victory at Bay Hill on Sunday was the final step to putting his past transgressions behind him and moving forward. He can simply focus on golf without the weight of the world on his shoulders. His game is right where he needs it to be with The Masters around the corner and that could be the edge he needs to strike a little fear into opponents who have viewed him as an afterthought for over two years.
Good health and an empowered mental state on the golf course are the key factors that will drive Woods going forward. The rest of the field better hope they can match Woods in these areas, because the "Old Tiger" is becoming new again.
Analyzing what Tiger says is just as popular as what he does on the golf course. Let's dig into some of his insight following his Arnold Palmer Invitational victory on Sunday...
TW: "It was just pure joy."
- Ya think? Pretty sure Tiger has been forgiven by the fans based on the throng of spectators surrounding every inch of No. 18 on Sunday.
TW: "It's by far the injuries (the hardest part of making it back), because you can't practice. I haven't been able to put in the time."
- Part of me feels like the constant injuries did some good for Tiger. It really forced him to step a step back and learn about himself, as well as his golf game. Without gaining that perspective, I don't think he gets back to this point.
TW: "You don't need to win; you want to win. I think that's a misperception I think people get into. I think it's just -- I know I have a desire to win, and that's why I enter these events is to do that, and ultimately, this week was one of my weeks."
- I don't buy that. I'm not sure how much longer Woods could have gone without winning while actually being a happy person. He doesn't seemed wired to be able to keep playing and never win again.
TW: "I've won here on a few occasions going into Augusta which has always been a good feeling."
- Not a good sign for the rest of the Masters field.
Q. With apologies, putting the cart in front of the horse, but can you put your head around the fact that you head into Augusta, of all places that you can tie Jack for the same number of wins?
TW: "Yeah, well, that's nice, but I'm looking forward to more of the Green Jacket part of it than tying Jack, in that regard. Jack's had an amazing career and he's won a bunch of tournaments. But also, he's won more majors than anybody else, either.
So I'm looking forward to my opportunities this year. There's four of them this year and hopefully I can peak at the right times for all four of them."
- Someone just had to bring up Jack, didn't they? Obviously it's relevant with Woods being one win away from tying Jack's win total on Tour (not Majors), but I wouldn't have bet a penny that that questions wouldn't come up.