Planet Golf — 02 July 2012 by Bob Sherwin
Tiger Woods still growls

Tiger Woods is done. He hasn’t won a major in four years. His revised swing is too inconsistent. He’s past his prime. He’s not the same player he once was. The younger players are not intimidated by him anymore. He’s just another good ordinary player.

Oh, really?

That’s been the many and varied opinions from the golf world pundits and, at times, Woods played those parts. He went nearly 1,000 days without a win. He’d have a couple outstanding rounds this season only to be followed by a stinker. People wondered if he could ever get back to his spectacular, dominant play.

He’s pretty close. In fact, the guy who has been kicked around for much of the past couple years, is making his case once again for the PGA Tour Player of the Year, for the leading money winner, for leader in the FedExCup standings and recapturing the world’s No. 1 player crown.

Woods became the first player on the Tour to win three events Sunday when he took a two-stroke victory over Bo Van Pelt at the AT&T National. He finished with a 8-under 276 at the Congressional National Country Club.

With this victory, Woods:

    • Earned his 74th career PGA Tour victory at the age of 36 years, 6 months and 2 days in his 285rd (271st professional) career start.
    • The 74 victories surpass Jack Nicklaus for second all-time on the Tour trailing only Sam Snead (82).
    • It was his third Tour victory in last seven starts.
    • It marked the 12th season in which he has posted three or more victories.
    • He is the first three-event winner since Jim Furyk in 2010.
    • His 500 FedExCup points to move from No. 4 to No. 1 the standings. It’s the first time in 100 weeks that he moves to No. 1 in the FedExCup standings.
    • He moved to third in Ryder Cup standings.
    • He remains fourth the Official World Golf Rankings but Luke Donald, Rory McIIroy and Lee Westwood ahead of him are not setting the golf world on fire.
    • He earned his 23rd come-from-behind victory in final round on the Tour.
    • He has taken over the top spot in Tour money collection this season with $4,220,398.
    • He also has closed to within a few bucks of $100 million in Tour winnings. He has won $99,037,940 in his career.
    • He did not have a three-putt green all week. 

All that is left for Woods is all that really matters: Can he catch Jack Nicklaus’ majors’ record. Nicklaus won 18 majors. Woods has 14 but has not won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. That’s what everyone is focusing on.

He has had a couple knee surgeries since 2008, a significant swing change and a most painful and all too public sex scandal and subsequent divorce.

He failed badly at the Masters this year (T40) and was in contention at the U.S. Open but uncharacteristically faded over the weekedn (T21).

He’ll have two more chances this year, at the Open Championship, to be played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes course in Lancaster, England that starts July 19. He had won three British Opens, but not one since 2005. He’s still got to be one of the favorites.

The PGA Championship will be played at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Ocean Course that begins on Aug. 9. He’ll be the favorite there.

He’s 36 years old. He’s looking again like he’s 26. He’s got a lot left and even more to prove.

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Bob Sherwin

Bob grew up in Cleveland, an underdog city with perennial underdog teams, and that gave him an appreciation and an affinity for the grinders in golf, guys such as Rocco Mediate, Jhonattan Vegas and star-crossed John Daly. This is the 46th year for Bob as a sportswriter, the first 34 working for newspapers throughout the west, Tucson (Daily Star), San Francisco (Examiner) and Seattle (Times), and the past 10 years as a freelancer. He has covered just about every sport, including golf tournaments, Tucson Open, Bing Crosby/AT&T Pro-Am, the 1998 PGA Championship, the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, the 2010 U.S. Amateur the 2015 U.S. Open and the annual Champions Tour Boeing Classic. He also writes articles for golf magazines. For most of his 20 years at the Seattle Times his primary beat was the Mariners. He then picked up Washington men’s basketball in the winter. He also was the beat writer for the Sonics, including 1996 when they played the Bulls for the NBA title. After a lifetime hacking on public courses, he finally gave in and joined a country club in 2011, the Members Club of Aldarra near Seattle. Despite (or perhaps because) of his 14 handicap, he won the ‘Super Senior” (65 and older) championship in 2017. He has a pair of aces – 37 years apart – and in 2009 came agonizingly close to his ultimate golf goal of scoring in the 70s when he finished with an even 80. He lives in Seattle, and spends part of his winters in Marco Island, Fla.

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