Tiger Woods won The Memorial this weekend.
It's almost as if the sound of Tiger's birdie putt on No. 18 hitting the hole was the cue for the ESPN Hype Machine to start up.
The questions of the day have become Is Tiger back? Will Tiger win the U.S. Open?
If you go to ESPN.com and look at their golf video list, you can view such titles as: "Nicklaus showers high praise on Tiger", "Ricky Fowler reflects on Tiger's victory" and "Collins: Tiger absolutely the U.S. Open favorite."
Just stop it.
I admit Tiger winning is a big deal, because Tiger is to golf what the Yankees are to baseball and Duke is to college basketball. For better or for worse, the sport is simply more interesting when he is relevant. He's the most polarizing figure in the sport and he moves the ratings needle. It can't be argued that him winning isn't important.
But let's all just take a step back before declaring pre-Elin-smashing-a-golf-club-through-his-back-window Tiger is back.
This was Tiger's second win of the year, each coming at a course and tournament he traditionally has owned. His win at Muirfield was his fifth at the Nicklaus designed course.
I'm sorry, but winning at a course where you've traditionally dominated does not qualify as "back."
Jason Dufner has also won twice on tour this year. He has just as many wins as Tiger. Each also has a second place finish and Dufner has more overall Top 10s. So if Tiger is Tiger again, what does that make Dufner? Some sort of Uber-Tiger? A reincarnation of Bobby Jones?
Step back and take a look at Tiger's year as a whole. He's only played nine events and finished outside the Top 25 in four of them. He's been outside the Top 10 three times, as much as he's been inside of it.
This is far from the Tiger Woods we grew accustomed to about five years ago. This is a very talented, yet inconsistent golfer who has found success at courses where he's traditionally done well.
All of this Tiger is back talk sounds eerily familiar. You could probably bring out a recording of a SportsCenter from late March after Tiger's win at Bay Hill and hear all the same questions and all the same analysis.
Much like this weekend's win, that one came two weeks before a major. And sportscasters were already fitting Tiger for another green jacket. But reality sunk in and Tiger finished in a tie for 40th.
Oh, yeah, he was back.
In the three tournaments since the first time he was back after Bay Hill, Woods finishes were a tie for 40th, a cut and another tie for 40th.
Then he posts a win this past weekend, at a course he is well familiar with, knows like the back of his hand and has dominated in the past, and everybody is supposed to believe, once again, that he is back.
It's typical ESPN overkill. Listen to things on the network, radio or TV, read anything on the web and is seems like we should engrave his name on the U.S. Open trophy right now and save everyone the trip to San Francisco.
Make sure Bubba Watson, Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and everyone else doesn't waste their time going to Olympic Club. Might as well spend the week sightseeing Alcatraz, because Tiger is back.
Here's the main difference between Tiger Woods today and Tiger Woods 2005. Tiger is not head and shoulders above the rest of the golf world. He is right with a pretty good sized pack of golfers in which each one is capable of playing well and winning on any given week.
Instead of saying old Tiger is back, let's just say Tiger is back among the top golfers in the world. Win the U.S. Open first, then we can talk about if old Tiger really is back. Until then, Tiger is just another quality golfer, just like Donald, Watson and Dufner.