Tiger Woods has finally admitted what he needed to do all along. The former world number one golfer added another tournament to his 2012 PGA Tour schedule as he seeks his first win against a full field in more than two years.
I've said all along the only thing Woods needs is more competition to get better. Practice can only take him so far. It seems he's finally understood that playing against a full field of golfers may be the final piece of the puzzle on the road to recovery.
Woods announced he will play in the Honda Classic March 1-4, a tournament played at the PGA National Resort near his home in Jupiter, Fla. It will be his third tournament in a row after playing the Accenture Match Play Championship and before the Cadillac Championship.
This will be the first time Woods has played this tournament since he was an amateur in 1997.
Woods will get another PGA Tour stop under his belt before the Masters at Augusta National in Georgia in early April. If his showing at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is any indication, Woods apparently has had enough floundering. He was in the hunt after three rounds before firing a 3-over 75 on the final day in California.
The fact that he added another tournament in the early part of the season, as opposed to sometime in the summer, is a telltale sign that Woods has finally realized the truth. Practice does make perfect, but it's no substitute for game-time conditions.
Practice in any conditions can only improve Woods's swing, stance and playability. But it's not the same as competing against a full field of 125 men who are trying to beat you. Even though golf is an individual sport where humans play against the elements, Woods hasn't had the benefit of pushing himself to try to be better than dozens of his fellow pros.
Early in his career, the man called Tiger loved the thrill of late-stage comebacks and wide open margins of victory. Since then, a new crop of golfers have emerged that may have been inspired by the charge into the history books made by Woods. The veteran hasn't had much playing time against these new golfers.
Perhaps he understood that in order to get his steely resolve to win back, he will have to tame a new crop of competition. How the Woods experiment pans out will be seen within a month.
William Browning has covered sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network including golf and local golf courses in southwest Missouri. He currently resides in Branson, Mo.
- Tiger Woods