Tiger Woods Wins AT&T National: Tiger Must Carry Momentum into British Open

Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIJuly 1, 2012

BETHESDA, MD - JULY 01:  Tiger Woods walks to the tee box on the third hole during the Final Round of the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club on July 1, 2012 in Bethesda, Maryland.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Tiger Woods captured the AT&T National by two strokes over Bo Van Pelt, but his celebration was restrained. Why?

Because it's not a major.

Woods was poised, clutch and in control in his win in Bethesda, Maryland. But because we're talking about Tiger, the "buts" won't go away until he wins another major. (Click here to see the final leaderboard.)

It is especially going to increase with Woods showing consistency in a non-major tournament. He's won three tournaments this year. He's had his ups and downs, but it's clear his game is either where it was before his time away from the game, or very close to it.

He is now No. 1 in the PGA Tour money list and the FedExCup standings for the first time since September 2009. The win, the 74th of his career, surpasses Jack Nicklaus and is good for second all time, eight behind only Sam Snead.

These facts only make him more of a favorite heading into every major. This is likely to be the case as we head into The Open Championship on July 19.

With that status comes even more pressure—as if there were any more to hoist on Woods' shoulders. I know I'll sound like a broken record, or the hot song the radio just won't stop playing, but he has to be the man to beat at The Open at Royal Lytham & St Anne's Golf Club.

As he was at the Masters, and likewise at the U.S. Open, but neither turned out too good.

According to the schedule on his website, Woods is set to play in the Greenbrier Classic, which begins on July 5. It's the final tournament on Woods' schedule before the British Open.

He has built a good deal of momentum with his win at Congressional, but continuing it at the Greenbrier, and most importantly at The Open, is the key to his comeback and definition of success.

Follow Brian Mazique and Franchiseplay.net for reactions, analysis and news from the world of sports and sports video games