A Sort Of Homecoming
Continued (page 2 of 2)
That's also sort of the way Woods has performed this season. He began with a missed cut in Abu Dhabi, won the Farmers Insurance Open, went out in the first round of the Accenture Match Play and was T-37 in the Honda Classic before winning the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
What is indisputably true is that Woods is hitting the ball consistently better now than he has since before the car crash. The Sean Foley swing changes seems to have been fully integrated into his psyche. No longer does he revert to the old swing under pressure, which is what most players do.
While he is still only No. 127 on tour in driving accuracy and No. 59 in greens in regulation, his misses are much better. When he is off, he is not off by as much as he has been for the last three years, bringing to mind the Nick Faldo observation: "Golf is not about the quality of your good shots; It is about the quality of your bad shots."
But, most importantly, Woods has his Great Eraser back in the bag -- a putter that wipes out his mistakes. After struggling on the greens since shortly before Y.E. Yang played the role of Buster Douglas in the 2009 PGA Championship, Woods, while not yet back to being automatic, has become reliable.
He is sixth in the crucial strokes gained/putting stat which has helped him lead the tour with a scoring average of 68.480. His all-around ranking for all stats is No. 2.
Maybe Woods is not the dominant player he once was -- he stumbled to the finish line at both Torrey Pines and Doral -- but he is still good enough to be the best in the world.
Maybe he is no longer playing on that greatest-ever level, but he is still the guy who once was that guy. And Bay Hill seems to be one of those places that brings out the best in him. Perhaps it will be where he returns to No. 1.