Golf | He's back: Tiger Woods ready to reclaim dominance

jdill@bradenton.comMarch 30, 2013 

Rather than fawning all over Tiger Woods to begin this column, let's start with two player profiles and see if you can guess who they are.

Player A collects 10 victories, including a major championship, in 23 starts.

Player B has three wins in five starts in 2013.

If you guessed Tiger Woods for both, you win.

The first resumé is Woods' performance between 2008-09, the latter being the year he won the U.S. Open -- his last major title -- on one leg and the former being the last full season he played prior to the Thanksgiving scandal that shook golf to its core.

The second resumé is what Woods has accomplished this season. When you extrapolate that small sample size to a full season, El Tigre is on pace for the success he enjoyed in his pre-scandal form.

And that is precisely what golf needs.

It needs a shot in the arm, a dominant force to swoop in and captivate an audience full of non-golf fans to make the sport reach its zenith.

Woods was the man that inspired a generation, becoming the Michael Jordan of his sport. Players like Rory McIlroy idolized Woods, but they were never threatened by him once they made it to golf's big time because Woods fell so far off the map that not even a range finder could spot his once-formidable game.

Well, that's changed during the past two seasons.

Woods began the switch in 2012 to an improved style, one where he netted three victories and nine top-10 finishes.

However, the only number that matters to

Woods eluded him for yet another season. And that number is major championships. He did not win any in 2012 and has not since 2008.

That should change this season, and golf is better off for it.

This past week, Woods won his third title of the season at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, at a Bay Hill course that's practically in his backyard.

He also took over the No. 1 world ranking from McIlory, who then sent Woods a congratulatory text Tuesday about the accomplishment.

That's precisely why golf needs Woods at the top.

McIlroy, for all his talent, did something that Woods would have never done at the height of his powers.

Sure Woods was never aloof to the point that he wasn't humble, but he never would have congratulated someone who took away his No. 1 ranking.

He simply would practice harder, then go out and take it back.

Woods had ice water running through his veins, displaying a killer mentality in dominating the sport he ushered into the mainstream for so many years.

At his side was wife Elin Nordegren, whom he cheated on.

Now Woods is dating another blonde, this time skiing star Lindsey Vonn.

And his game is heading in the right direction.

Coincidence?

Perhaps, but whatever the case is for his stunning form this season, golf desperately needs it.

Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017 or via email at jdill@bradenton.com Follow him on Twitter @Jason_Dill.

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