Tiger Woods Wins Bay Hill: Is He Officially Back?

Dexter RogersCorrespondent IMarch 26, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 25:  Tiger Woods plays a shot on the 4th hole during the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge on March 25, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

After winning a PGA-sanctioned tournament for the first time since November of 2009 Tiger Woods stated, “It’s not like winning a major championship or anything but it feels really good.”

No, it wasn’t a major championship victory but it was a major step forward in Woods continuing his quest to secure the dominance he once had over the competition.

Woods troubles the last three years have been well documented. He suffered through a public humiliation like few athletic stars that were at the peak of their powers.

Woods’ past infidelity cost him his family. As a result he was not the family man who was pumping out major championships with a robotic-like precision: Woods was depicted as a philandering cheater who consistently acted upon his wandering eye. 

Once his private indiscretions became public, the pillars of his success began to crumble around him.  His life was turned upside down. Everyone knew he wasn’t what we thought he was based on the media portrayal. In addition to his family, Woods lost friends, endorsements, his swing-coach Hank Haney and his long-time caddie Steve Williams. But more importantly he seemingly lost his game.

Yesterday Woods has taken a vital step forward in winning again. It served as validation that he still can be more than a remnant of what he once was.

Many in sports media simply wrote Tiger off. They suggested he can never resurrect his dominance and be what he once was. I’ve long been on the record as stating Woods would be back in top form.  Now the consistent proclamation is now beginning to come into fruition. I think he will win more majors and best Jack Nicklaus’ career mark.  

I wonder what the Woods-critics are stating now.

Anytime a great athlete goes through a rough patch their resolve is tested. It is easier to be at the top of your game, win and have others fear you, but the hallmark of a true champion is how adversity is handled. 

When Muhammad Ali was stripped of his heavyweight championship of the world by boxing authorities in 1967 he lost it all. For 42 months he wasn’t allowed to box, earn an income or leave the country.  He was also in a bitter dispute with the United States government for his refusal to enlist in the Vietnam War.

When Ali finally came back in late 1970 he was not the same boxer. His legs were not what they were and he lost some quickness. Ali had to reinvent himself and he did just that. In the fall of 1974 Ali reclaimed his title and once again asserted himself as the greatest of all time.

My late mother always stated, “If it aint’ in you it won’t come out of you.”

Well, without question, Ali had it and Woods has it as well.

The great ones have it some they simply find a way remember to remember. The truly great ones find a way to remember what they once were and make adjustments along the way. 

When Woods was at the depths of doom, his game was in shambles along with his personal life. He was a shell of himself. Woods was even struggling to make cuts at some tournaments but, yesterday, he was back in his familiar red polo smiling in triumph for the first time in a long while.

So folks, is Tiger Woods back?

I say no. 

He never really went anywhere. He just had to go back to the lab and remember that he’s still the best in the world no matter what the rankings suggest.



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