Tiger Woods: Why Memorial Tournament Is a Must-Win

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistJune 2, 2012

DUBLIN, OH - JUNE 01:  Tiger Woods waves to the gallery after a birdie putt on the first green during the second round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance at Muirfield Village Golf Club on June1, 2012 in Dublin, Ohio.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

If Tiger Woods has any hope of being considered a serious threat, he must find a way to win the Memorial Tournament.

After two rounds, Tiger finds himself five under par and second on the leaderboard. Once upon a time, Woods was the undisputed champion of golf and finding himself in contention at the Memorial Tournament would surprise no one. In 2012, it's the highlight of his season.

Woods has had an up-and-down year—capturing his first win in more than two years at the Arnold Palmer Invitational before a lackluster showing at the Masters and failing to make the cut at the Wells Fargo Championship. A win for Woods could be just what he needs to get back on track heading into the summer months.

More importantly, a win for Woods at the Memorial would be as strong a sign as ever that he's still a threat as one of the elite players in the world. In Woods' prime, if he was second after two rounds of play, it was only a formality that he would be holding up the championship by the end of weekend.

Woods' confidence, killer instinct and his ability to come through in the clutch made him a shoo-in for the win if he was anywhere near the top. Nowadays, it's hard for players to be very intimidated by Woods. A top-10 finish has become much more rare and his ability to close out tournaments seems to have dissipated. A strong showing in the final two rounds to close out the Memorial would send the message that Tiger can still close and the field had better take notice.

Aside from what this means for the 2012 version of Woods, a win at the Memorial would be big for Woods' legacy. With a win, Woods would officially move alongside Jack Nicklaus for the No. 2 spot in career wins.

Woods finds himself with 72 victories and, while he's certainly not the same Tiger that collected most of those wins, getting to number 73 is still quite the accomplishment and another chapter in his storied career.

Either angle you go from, Tiger needs a win at the Memorial to remind us—and the field—that he is one of the greatest of all time.