We are all waiting for Tiger Woods to come out of his shell and remind the world just how dangerous he can be as a professional golfer.
After he posted a first-round 70 (even par) at the 2013 Honda Classic on Thursday, it appears we will be waiting a little while longer.
However, the scary thing about Woods and his recent tournament appearances appears to be that he is starting to put it all together. We all know that his meteoric fall from grace left an image and a legacy tainted in the wake of the cheating scandal, but every time he does something special he reminds us that he still has a little bit of magic left from his former glory days.
After missing the cut at Abu Dhabi, Woods responded with a victory at the Farmer's Insurance Open. With that win at Torrey Pines under his belt, Woods again struggled at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship last weekend, losing 2 and 1 and finishing T-33.
Although this has been a promising and profitable tournament for Tiger in the past, he'll need to pick up the pace to regain the six strokes he currently lacks behind leader Camilo Villegas. As noted by ESPN's Stats and Info, a first-round score of even still (mathematically) gives him a chance for career win No. 14 at this "Florida Swing" start:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Tiger Woods finished even in 1st rd at Honda Classic. He's won 13 of his 28 "Florida Swing" starts and started par or better in all 13 wins.2/28/2013, 8:45:23 PM
That being said, Tiger is still Tiger.
After struggling to find the fairway (something that we say a lot when Woods is struggling at tournaments) for the opening few holes, Woods responded by getting out of trouble and putting himself in position for birdie putts.
However, it was his putter that failed him most often on Thursday, as Woods finished with 32 putts in 18 holes. He didn't sniff the first-round 64 that now sits atop the leaderboard, but Woods will go home tonight with one of the best shots of the day.
After heading down the back nine (Woods started at No. 10), he got into trouble on the par-four sixth. His ball landed in the hazard, and instead of taking a drop he decided to roll up his pant legs and attack the problem himself.
All he did was hit a masterful shot that managed to get up and down the fairway into position for a par and then follow that up with a birdie on No. 7 (as reported by Yahoo! Sports). Tiger has hit many shots over the course of his career that qualify as special, but this one was downright impressive.
And so goes our obsession with Woods.
At times, he's brilliant. He hits the ball as far out of the tee box as anyone, and he has the touch to turn a terrible fairway shot into a chippy for birdie or par (as we saw on Thursday).
Other times he's just another golfer on the course, wearing Nike gear and getting way too much media attention. Let's not forget—he is ranked No. 2 in the world at this point in time, but there are plenty of other qualified golfers who have had standout seasons while Woods has been regaining his legendary form.
At the Honda Classic on Thursday, we got a little bit of both.
One thing is clear: Woods has to polish his game before he can sniff the status he held before the knee surgery and scandal that derailed his quest to be the greatest of all time. We haven't hit this year's major tournaments yet, but the Honda Classic is a great opportunity for Woods to make a statement to the rest of the field.
Which Tiger will we get the rest of the tournament?
Sometimes, I'm not sure he even knows.
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