For Woods, it has always been about giving himself chances.
The Masters might be his best chance since 2009, when he coughed up a two-shot lead to Y.E. Yang on the last day of the PGA Championship. Everything fell apart soon after that — revelations of his extramarital affairs, losing his wife in a divorce, finding a new swing coach, coping with more injuries to his left leg.
Woods never liked the notion that this is a comeback. When he won the Chevron World Challenge at the end of 2011 — his first trophy of any kind in the two years since his car hit the fire hydrant and his personal life imploded — he cited the lyrics of LL Cool J: “Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years.”
But that wasn’t necessarily true. He wasn’t No. 1 in the world. He wasn’t even the best player in golf. That was McIlroy, who won the U.S. Open by a record score in 2011 and the PGA Championship by a record margin a year later. McIlroy was looked upon as the favorite at the Masters until Woods won his last two tournaments.
If it’s McIlroy in a green jacket at Augusta National, the road back for Woods will look longer than ever.
At the moment, Woods has turned the corner and is picking up speed.