NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

March 27, 2013

Is Tiger Woods back?

(Continued)

Vonn shared her thoughts on Twitter: “Number 1 !!!!!!!!!!!!!”

It wasn’t long before Woods was asked the correlation between going public about dating Vonn and winning a tournament to go back to No. 1 for the first time since October 2010. There was a time when Woods answered questions about his personal life by saying, “That’s none of your business.” But he had fun with this one.

“You’re reading way too much into this,” he said with a grin.

The trouble with Woods is that he has never been an open book. Only he knows how badly his leg was injured. Only he knows how far along he was in the latest swing change under Sean Foley. Only he knows how much life as a divorced father of two has affected his game.

The greatest temptation Woods faces now is to resist wagging his finger at anyone who doubted whether he could get back to No. 1 in the world, whether he could challenge Jack Nicklaus and his record 18 majors. Woods has been stuck on 14 majors since 2008.

The majors will be the ultimate measures. The Masters starts April 11, and if Woods isn’t wearing a green jacket in Butler Cabin on Sunday night, it won’t mean this was another false alarm. Golf is still hard. Woods only has a way of making it look easy.

Think back to one of the most dominant phases of his career. From August 1999 through March 2000, Woods won or finished second 10 times in 11 starts on the PGA Tour. The Masters was his next tournament, and it didn’t look like there was any way he could lose. In the opening round, he three-putted for double bogey on No. 10 and three-putted from 12 feet for a triple bogey on No. 12. Woods shot 75 that day, never caught up and tied for fifth. That summer, he won the next three majors.

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