Tiger Woods: The Phoenix Rises from the Ashes

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Tiger Woods: The Phoenix Rises from the Ashes
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Phoenix is the immortal bird that, when it dies, bursts into flames and is reborn from its own ashes.

After his record-tying eighth win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Tiger Woods has risen from the ashes and returned to his familiar spot on top of the Official World Golf Rankings. This marked the 11th time Woods moved to the top of the rankings, but the first time since October 2010.

That was one month before the one-year anniversary of 'The Crash'—the now infamous incident when Woods crashed his SUV into a tree early in the morning of Nov. 27, 2009 after leaving his residence in Isleworth.

That sparked a series of events that pushed him into a world of hurt and put strain on his marriage—it led to his eventual divorce after a five-year marriage to Elin Nordegren. His personal problems and injuries affected his game—subsequently, he fell from the top of the world rankings, dropping to No. 58 in Nov. 2011.

Many buried him in a sports sense, doubted him and called for his demise, anticipating the end of his golf career. It started a desperate search against time for an unblemished, promising star that would replace Woods' golf supernova. 

Woods had dominated the golf world, winning 14 majors while recording 623 weeks on top of the world rankings. More than anything else, he was an imposing and intimidating force that struck the look of defeat on his opponents.

During the past 124 weeks that passed since Woods was No. 1 for the last time, four players have spent time as the top ranked player in the world. Luke Donald spent a total of 55, Rory McIlroy 39, Lee Westwood 22 and Martin Kaymer eight.

There is still some of the same people that counted him out, that will not call his comeback complete until he wins a major again, something he hasn't done since the 2008 U.S. Open.

Well, his first major win might be as near as The Masters at Augusta in two weeks where will be installed as the favorite to win. Four of Woods’ 14 major titles have come at Augusta National, where he last won in 2005.

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Woods' win at Bay Hill was the third this year and his 77th career PGA win—and 99th professional tournament win—and is five wins shy of matching Sam Snead's all-time record on the PGA Tour. Him and Snead are also the only players to win the same tournament eight times. 

Snead achieved his feat at the Greater Greensboro Open.

You have to hand it to Woods. He now has six wins in the last calendar year; nobody else has more than three, and he has already matched his total wins of 2012. This also means this is the fourth time he has won three tournaments before the Masters in a single year, the other three years being 2000, 2003 and 2008.

Now that Woods is back on top, don't expect him to give it up. He has been able to put together all the pieces of the puzzle that spell success for him, and you should expect nothing less.

He finally seems totally comfortable with the swing he started working on with Canadian-born instructor Sean Foley back in 2010. He is striking the ball with remarkable confidence, and it shows on his par fives—just look at the three eagles he made this past week, one less than he had all of last year.

Woods seems to have gotten his personal life going and romance is back with the announcement that he is dating Olympic medalist and World Champion skier Lindsey Vonn. It reflects on his body language; you can even see him joking and cracking smiles.

The ultimate competitor in Woods also makes him strive to get even better. He is fueled by the competition that represents McIlroy, whom he replaced at No. 1 and has been hailed as the new face of golf, especially after having won two majors.

He is definitely more confident and relaxed on the golf course now. With his regained confidence and level of play, he will be looking to match up against McIlroy and prove once again, not only to everyone, but mostly to himself that he is still the king of golf.

Woods was down, but not out—just when some thought he was done, he has risen once again and reclaimed what was rightfully his. It will be one superb ride watching him going after Snead's wins record and Jack Nicklaus' majors record.

 

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