This can't be easy for Tiger Woods. Smiling, and waving and chipping in front of the crowds, and then heading back to his rental house knowing that yes, life this week and for the weeks to come will be totally different.
On Tuesday, Tiger announced on his website that he and his wife Elin would be divorcing, an announcement that shocked few but still rattled the shaken world of Mr. Woods. He then had to go out on Thursday and play in these FedEx Cup playoffs that initially seemed tailor-made for Tiger, but are now just a struggle to make it to the next week.
But he went out on Thursday with a 65, and then couldn't find that same magic on Friday and Saturday. It's been typical of Tiger this season to get us thinking he found his game again only to struggle as the event lingered on. But this week was different. On Saturday Tiger made a triple-bogey on his opening hole, which basically cost him any shot at the title at Ridgewood, but he bounced back with three birdies on his back nine to salvage the round. Then, on Sunday, Tiger closed with a really tidy 67 that included just 27 putts.
If things stay the way they are right now, Tiger will card his first top-10 since the U.S. Open, and first non-major top-10 of the season. What Tiger is looking for right now is glimpses, and it seemed this week he had a lot of them.
He yelled at shots to be right. He rolled in lengthy par putts like the Tiger of 2000. He hit 78 percent of his fairways, the best of anyone in the field, and he was one bad hole away from seriously competing.
People wonder when Tiger will finally get that first win, and I keep preaching that his game isn't sharp enough to beat the caliber of player that makes up a PGA Tour event, but it is weeks like this that Woods must take as a positive. No, he didn't claim his 72nd PGA Tour victory, and he wasn't in the final group, lurking with his Sunday red like in the past, but it was a building block for something better.
This week might just be enough for Corey Pavin to add Tiger to his Ryder Cup squad. If he putts at all in October like he did at the Barclays, the decision will turn out to be the right one.