Has Tiger got his groove back?
While some will argue that Tiger Woods ‘ long-awaited return to the winner’s circle on Sunday came in an unofficial 18-man event with the odds stacked in his favor, there is no doubt the former world number one is back to form.
Granted, Woods knew Sherwood Country Club better than anyone else in the elite field and he had previously won the Chevron World Challenge, which he hosts, four times.
Significantly, though, he played well for four consecutive rounds – something which had largely proved elusive for him over the last two years while he struggled for form and fitness – and his one-shot victory will have sounded an ominous warning to his peers of what they can expect of him in 2012.
The greatest player of his generation and arguably ever, a fully-fit Woods can now practice full bore for every event on his schedule – something he has been unable to do in a long while.
“In order for me to play the way I know I can play, I had to get fully fit,” the 14-time Major champion told reporters after fending off fellow American Zach Johnson by a shot with a sizzling birdie-birdie finish.
“I had to get healthy to where I was strong and explosive again so I could practise.
“It basically starts with that. I was finally able to practice, then my practice sessions started building and building and building.
“I felt very good about my game. I got better each and every tournament. I feel pretty good going into next year.”
Woods won the most recent of his 14 Major titles at the 2008 US Open, and he has long targeted the record 18 claimed by compatriot Jack Nicklaus.
While that goal still seems distant, Woods was delighted to be able to plan on a full 2012 campaign after missing two of the four majors last year while recovering from injuries to his left knee ligaments