To say Tiger Woods is back would be repeating very old news, but his recent dominance is only a stepping stone to returning to his old stature and means nothing without a major win this season.
Woods was flat-out dominant at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral after winning by two strokes and performing at an elite level the entire weekend. Woods flashed a sensational all-around game that had him finish with 27 total birdies.
Along with his win at the Farmer's Insurance Open back in January, Woods has now won five times in his last 19 tour events. That is quite an impressive run, and clearly Woods' game is back to special standards, but the pressure of a major-less run over the past five years is still lurking at the forefront.
Woods won his last major back in 2008. At that time, it looked like he would be a shoo-in to break the all-time record of majors won held by Jack Nicklaus, and while he still has a chance to do so, it isn't as great as it once was.
That record doesn't really matter anymore at this point. Woods is just looking to get one, which is pretty much the approach he's always taken. After all, you can't get to the record without winning one by one, but this next particular one is extra important.
Tiger has set an impossible standard for himself during his career with all of his success. He has already done more than enough to secure his place among the greats in PGA Tour history, and if he retired tomorrow, he would already have a Hall of Fame-caliber resume.
Unfortunately, the luster on his career has taken a hit after personal issues and on-the-course struggles have overshadowed much of what he's done in the past. Not winning a single major in that time has also created a negative air around him that will remain until he truly gets over the hump.
Now, that's not to say Woods must win at the Masters in April or else his year is a bust. Crazy things happen. Golf is too unpredictable to put any more pressure on his shoulders than what already will be there as the entire sports world looks for him to get that big win when the first major of the year comes.
Woods must come away with at least one major win at some point this year, though. He can win all the tournaments he wants and dominate at lesser events on a regular basis, but if he can't win a major, all people will care about is how he didn't get that elusive victory.
Should he do the unthinkable and go the rest of his career without winning one, Woods will no doubt still be honored as a legend of the sport. The only difference will be the huge "but" that will remain after starting the sentence, "Tiger Woods was one of the greatest golfers in history..."
Here's to hoping that never happens and that Woods gets his 15th major sooner rather than later.
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