Tiger Woods took a moment to let the feeling sink in before he tapped in a putt on the 18th green for par during Sunday’s final round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Florida. All is back to normal again in golf. Tiger Woods is a winner once again. Woods shot a 1-under 70 to win by 5 strokes ahead of his nearest competitor, Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell, with a combination of great drives, iron shots, and his short game, a winning formula that had not been seen in a very long time. This was Wood’s first official PGA Tour victory since the Australian Open in September of 2009.
Wood’s career and personal life has been in turmoil since that last victory. A horrendous scandal that cost him millions of dollars as well as fans shed his previously squeaky-clean image into something much darker and questioned. His life would never be the same. Desperate attempts, from pleas for forgiveness and apologies at numerous press conferences, to even growing a beard and acting like someone else failed. He divorced with his wife, Elin Nordegren, fired his swing coach, Hank Haney, and, what was probably most painful of all, fired caddie Steve Williams, who had been on his bag for over a decade.
Now, it seems Tiger’s finally taking a step in the right direction with this win. He did win his own tournament, the Chevron World Challenge, in December. However, that was not an official PGA Tour event, as the field was only 18 players. This impressive performance, with no round higher than 1-under par, was the first time in a long time he’s looked this confident with his swing on both the tee and the green.
With the Masters right around the corner (starting April 5th), Woods is heating up at the right time. His focus is now set on capturing his 5th win at Augusta National, which would be his 15th major tournament win as he resumes his chase to catch “The Bear”, Jack Nicklaus, for most the most major wins, with 18.