Tiger Woods: What Win at AT&T National Means for British Open Chances
Tiger Woods won the AT&T National yesterday afternoon, outlasting Bo Van Pelt for the title.
This was Woods' 74th career win, moving him into second place all time, now one more in front of Jack Nicklaus.
At one point, Tiger went 41 holes without a bogey.
The win, TIger's third of the season, raises a big question: What does this do for his chances at the British Open?
The Open, starting July 19, is a great chance for Woods to let everyone know he is back.
As Woods told reporters,
“I remember there was a time when people were saying I could never win again,” Woods said. “That was, what? Six months ago? Here we are.”
Here we are. With just two weeks before the Open, where does Tiger stand?
GETTING BACK ON TRACK
Tiger has rebounded this season. He has three wins and has moved his ranking to fourth in the world. As Bo Van Pelt said,
“I think he's the only guy to win three tournaments on tour this year, is that correct?” Bo Van Pelt said after finishing second to Woods on Sunday at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. “On three different courses. And he was leading the U.S. Open after two days. So I'd say that he's playing the best golf in the world right now.”Rob Carr/Getty Images
He's still behind Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy in the rankings, but he's first in the FEDEX Cup standings and the PGA money list. That's the first time he's been in this position since September 2009.
Woods incredible descent has been matched by his equally incredible ascent this season. He's won three of his seven tournaments and led the U.S. Open after the first two days.
Tiger is back on track.
If anything, Tiger has some great momentum. Winning the AT&T National is a great confidence booster. It's a well-known event and a challenging course and Woods played great.
Taking that momentum into the British Open will only help him. The Open is a difficult tournament to win, but Woods is playing well. Not much can derail him now.
He was ranked 58th in November of 2011. Now ranked fourth, Tiger's play in the past year has been remarkable.
THE OLD TIGER
Before Tiger's descent into the rough, he was an elite competitor. He was always going to win, no matter what. He was competing against himself, the field, the world.
After his life got shaken up, he returned to the course a bit tentative. Not anymore. After working on his swing, Tiger is back:
“Well, a lot of media people didn't think I could win again, and I had to deal with those questions for quite a bit,” Woods said. “It was just a matter of time. I could see the pieces coming together. [Swing coach] Sean [Foley] and I were working, and we see what was coming, and we can see the consistency, and it's just a matter of time. Just stay the course, and if you look at my ball-striking so far this year, it's gotten more and more consistent. Give me a little time, and I feel like this is what I can do.”
As he keeps winning, that razor-like focus is coming back into play. The Tiger that we all knew is coming back. The clutch, win-at-any-cost Tiger is back.
Of course, this means that at any tournament, he's a threat to win. This is no different for the British Open. He's won the tournament three times, last in 2006. He knows the course and the stakes. Now that he's back on track, he could very well win.
Tiger has not won a Major since 2008. A four year gap is too long for him. Now that he's on a roll, now that he has three out of seven, now that he won the AT&T National, things have finally come into place.
For Tiger's comeback to be complete, he needs a Major victory. The AT&T National is a great tournament to win, but it does not have the same panache, the same illustrious glory that winning a Major has.
Tiger's back on track. Only one thing is missing: a Major. His performance so far this year has convinced the golf world that he's back.
Now he just needs to win a Major. After this weekend's convincing performance, he would be a good bet to win one soon.
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