Tiger Woods has won the PGA Championship four times over his historic career and is one of the favorites to win the 2012 edition of the tournament. Woods hasn't won this tournament since 2007, but his recent golf history points to a chance at changing that statistic.
The decorated golfer has placed in the top 10 in three of his last four tournaments, winning the AT&T National just two months ago. Tiger also took third place at this year's British Open and eighth at the Bridgestone Invitational.
His six top-10 finishes this season are his most since 2008, when he finished second at the PGA Championship, which proves Woods is certainly on an upward trend for the first time in a long time.
For all his professional and personal issues in recent years, Woods still has that dominant skill in him that had him dominating this sport for the better part of a decade.
Another important note is this is the 16-year pro's last chance to add a major victory this season to his career total of 14. Woods talked a bit about his major performances this season to Cindy Boren of the Washington Post, saying:
Obviously I’m disappointed that I’ve played in three major championships this year and didn’t win any of them. [But] I think I’ve progressed this year over my last couple years. This is the way I can hit the golf ball...It’s nice to be able to do the things that I know I can do.
Based on his recent comments to Boren, Woods realizes that this has been a season full of strides back to dominant form and that might help Tiger win this PGA Championship more than any of his golf clubs.
Woods' fall from king of the golf world came after his personal issues became public. That makes a strong argument for the fact that his recent years of mediocrity are due more to mental follies than physical ones.
He's still as talented as he ever has been, and 2012 has seen a more confident Woods and thus, a more productive Woods.
According to Reid Cherner of USA Today's live blog of Woods at the PGA Championship, he's already off to a fine start to the tournament. Woods knows how to win at this course and he's been in the hunt in almost all his most recent tournaments, which might explain his early success.
Woods isn't completely back to his late 1990s/early 2000s self just yet, but he's the closest he's been in some time. He has a strong chance at taking home the No. 1 spot in this PGA Championship and if I was a gambling man, I'd put money on him doing just that.