August 02, 2009
The "Tiger Woods is washed up" bandwagon just hit a wall. Hard.
In one of his easiest -- relatively speaking -- wins in recent memory, Woods romped to a three-shot victory at the Buick Open, and it wasn't even that close. Now, granted, he was going against a field of competitors that included Roland Chalmers, Greg Senden and John Thatcher -- no, wait, that's Roland Thatcher, Greg Chalmers and John Senden -- but even so, Tiger thoroughly dominated both the field and the course, posting a -20 after finishing the first day a mere -1.
That, friends, is how you do business.
The Tiger detractors will point to the fact that Tiger was playing on a course on which the birdies flew so frequently that they threatened to blot out the sun, even as the rest of the field never even approached liftoff. And yes, Tiger was trying some stunts -- like an approach on No. 13 on Sunday that ended in the water -- that he never would have done with some more experienced hands chasing him. But so what? You play the course you're dealt, you play the competition that signs up. (Oh, and he slammed a club down today! Horrors! Won't he think of the children?)
No disrespect to the Buick, but tournaments like this aren't why Tiger's playing hard. He has his eye on the PGA Championship in a couple weeks, and you can bet he's eager to erase the frustration of falling short in the first two majors and the humiliation of missing the cut in the British Open. So from that standpoint, we need to look to Tiger's total game. Troubling signs: Tiger put himself into trouble with his driver and his approaches. Encouraging signs: He bailed himself out with his putter in a way he hasn't been able to do in months.
I almost get tired of typing it, but that doesn't make it any less true: This is one of golf's -- heck, one of sports' -- golden moments, folks. You don't have to like Tiger one little bit, but you've got to respect what he's doing. Enjoy it while it lasts.
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