ORLANDO, Fla. — Life must be going well for Tiger Woods when he can make headlines in the gossip pages for dating Olympic ski champion Lindsey Vonn and in the sports pages for winning Bay Hill and returning to No. 1 in the world.
All in the same week.
The studio photos of Woods and Vonn that were posted on their Facebook pages looked more suitable for a catalog showcasing their clothing sponsors. Far more natural were the poses Woods struck Monday afternoon with Arnold Palmer after winning his tournament — left arm draped around Palmer’s shoulder, both unable to contain their laughter over whatever was said that could not be repeated.
“But it was funny,” Woods said, breaking into a broad grin as he replayed the exchange in his mind. “Really funny, actually.”
Yes, Woods appears to be in a happy place.
Winning does that, and Woods is starting to win with alarming frequency. In the one year and two weeks since he limped off the course at Doral with tightness in his left Achilles tendon — the same injury that forced him to miss two majors in 2011 — Woods has won six times in his last 20 starts on the PGA Tour. In his three wins this year, no one got closer than two shots at any point in the final round.
The limp has been replaced by a swagger.
“He looks a lot more comfortable out there. He doesn’t really miss many shots. And if he does, it’s not by a whole lot,” said Rickie Fowler, who played with Woods in the final group and has seen plenty of him at practice at The Medalist in South Florida, where both are members.
“You know when another guy is playing well and he’s on top of his game,” Fowler added. “He’s got a little something.”