Honda Classic 2012: Tiger Woods Has Completely Returned to Form
It's been a long journey, but Tiger Woods is ready to own the PGA Tour once again. That point was driven home Sunday in the Honda Classic.
Tiger took the lead into the clubhouse before being surpassed by new world No. 1 Rory McIlroy.
Woods has been rounding into form since the tail-end of last season and showed definite flashes early this year.
He had been in contention in two of his three tournaments this season, but he was undone by erratic putting on the final day. Woods finally crossed that bridge in this tournament.
Woods was stroking his putts with authority and confidence in this tournament, and it paid off in a huge way on Sunday.
Will Tiger win a major this season?
He shot the lowest final round of his PGA career with a eight-under, 62. He also finished as the clubhouse leader before being passed up by Rory McIlroy, who took the win and also took over the No. 1 spot in the World Golf Rankings.
Despite McIlroy's accomplishment, it was Woods that stole the show.He needed only 28 putts to finish his round. That is a number that looks even better in light of the fact he hit 14 of 18 greens in regulation.
This led to Woods carding four birdies, two eagles and no bogeys.
And all of this means Woods is poised for a big year.
While the putting is the last hurdle he had to cross to return to form, it is not the only one that shows Woods is ready to dominate once again.
Woods has his swing grooved, and he is hitting fairways. He hit 71.5 percent of the fairways in this tournament. As Woods finished his round that was the 10th-best number for the tournament.
He isn't just lightly laying these safely in the fairway, either. Woods carried a 310-yard driving average for this tournament, and that is the best of the field.
To put these numbers in perspective, we can compare them with his average from 2000—the year he won three majors and was arguably at his best.
That year, he needed 1.7 putts per green and was hitting 75.2 percent of his greens in regulation. Those numbers are almost identical to this tournament, considering he had slightly fewer putts, but hit slightly fewer greens (69.4 for the tournament).
Will Tiger ever again be the world's No. 1?
Woods' driving is almost identical as well. In 2000, he had a driving accuracy of 71.2 percent with a driving distance of 298 yards.
Woods just showed that he is once again capable of playing to the peak of his abilities. Obviously, this is a tiny sample size, but it is the product of the progress he has been making.
Combine that with the fact that we all know Tiger has the ability to sustain this level of play, and you can come to the safe conclusion that he is once again ready to be a fixture atop the leaderboards.
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