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Tiger at 74
July 2, 2012 - Al Stephenson
The question that has been asked again and again concerning Tiger Woods and his golf career can finally be answered. I will tell you the answer. Yes, he is back.
He may never dominate like he once did, but who can? Rory McIlroy was considered the next Tiger not that long ago and now he has trouble making cuts. The bar that Tiger set for everyone else - including himself - was ridiculous. It was not feasible to think that anyone could do what he did, but he thrilled us with his game, if not his demeanor. He frequently got angry on the course, slamming clubs and spewing expletives. That turned some folks off long before his adulterous lifestyle convinced others that rooting for Tiger Woods was not something they wanted to do.
Now Tiger has won three tournaments in his last seven starts. He tied the legendary Jack Nicklaus career win mark at Jack's own tournament at Muirfield. Yesterday he broke the tie and now stands second in PGA Tour career wins with 74. The latest question is no longer is he back, but will he set the all time record.
That mark belongs to Sam Snead at 82. The pundits will now mull over Tiger's chances to eclipse that number as well as going back to whether he will top Nicklaus' major wins. At 14 majors, Tiger is still four behind the Golden Bear.
So what do I think his chances are for breaking either or both records? The obvious answer is he'll get both records, but I think I will hesitate to give him the "sure thing" label just yet. There are a lot of good golfers out there. Tiger is not getting any younger. Health issues can always complicate the task.
However, given his ability, his desire to prove people wrong (many will say he can't do it) and his seemingly newfound calmness on the course would make the view from my seat suggest it WILL happen.
It's only a matter of time.
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