COMMENTARY | Much like the player himself, Tiger Woods' golf game didn't say much about where he is relative to the last time the world saw its former No. 1 player struggle at The 2012 Masters.
Woods finished his opening round at Quail Hollow Golf Club at the Wells Fargo championship with a one-under 71 that included a bogey to start the round. He immediately followed that up with a birdie on the second to get back to even - the beginning of the round was a snapshot of how the day would go for Woods as he would show flashes of brilliance and regression throughout the day.
He's told the media and fans that his golf swing feels good and that he's pain free. But this is all rhetoric, and fans and critics alike are becoming tired of hearing from Woods and his camp when it comes to him being on the cusp of returning to form. The time has come for him to prove it on the course.
Some may be quick to point out that he won an event recently at Bay Hill. While this is true, the standard for Woods is exceptionally high, and the expectation is much greater consistency than what's been displayed thus far in the young PGA TOUR season.
With the final three majors just around the corner, Woods needs to find a motion he can trust. More importantly, he needs to regain his killer instinct and signature focus that propelled him to be a legend among the world's greatest players.
It was his ability to take negative energy and harness it into greatness that made him stand head and shoulders above others. His actions on the course, including the much publicized club-kicking incident at Augusta National in April have demonstrated that his mind is not clear. Anger is part of the game, but the incident was much more than just a quick display of frustration.
For Woods, there is plenty of time to make a charge and prove his doubters wrong and his faithful fans right. This is what makes Woods transcend the sport and such a polarizing figure. Tiger Woods moves the golf needle, and the more he wins, the better it is for the sport.
What he will do this weekend - if he makes it that far - remains to be seen. His performance at Quail Hollow will be very revealing with respect to the state of his game.
Like any tournament Woods plays in, it will be must-see television.
Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in Sports and PGA professional, covering the PGA TOUR. He has been published in southern California's Press-Enterprise and Examiner.com. Follow Michael on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets
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