We have to stop meeting this way, Tiger.
Once again, Tiger Woods is in the hunt for his 15th major title, and this time, he truly looks like he has a chance to win. Of course, that is what we thought at this year’s Masters until that nasty two-stroke penalty cost him dearly. He ended up finishing in a tie for fourth.
Tiger strung us along at last year’s Open Championship, where he finished in a tie for third, and in 2011 at the Masters, where he finished tied for fourth. In fact, in five of the last six majors, he looked like he had a chance to win.
His undoing has been the weekend. In his last four majors in which he has contended on the weekend, Woods has averaged 69.5 the first two rounds and 73.4 in the final two rounds.
But, this time he looks different. His 69 and 71 are good enough for a tie in second place in a field where no one wants to take charge. He is taking grinding to a new level—jamming the ball down the fairway with an iron, playing the angles of the course, and making just about every saving putt necessary to stay in contention.
And, as he made his move up the board, everyone moved to the edge of their seat. ESPN tweeted:
Look out, leaderboard. Tiger Woods has birdied 3 of last 4 holes to move to -2 at @The_Open. Live now on ESPN.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 18, 2013
Playing partner Graeme McDowell added, “I’ve watched how it’s done for two days by T Dub. He was impressive." McDowell then predicted a win by Tiger.
Graeme McDowell said about Tiger Woods: "There will be no surprise to me if he's picking up the Claret Jug on Sunday night" #BritishOpen— Brandon L. Duman (@blduman) July 19, 2013
Meanwhile, tweets abound in favor of a Tiger win.
@TigerWoods Tiger smart golf under all conditions will give you the best opportunity to win this championship. Win Tiger, just do it!— Ronald Eurquhart (@QTrent49) July 19, 2013
Smart golf—that is what Tiger seems to be playing.
He took time off to rest his weary elbow and it has paid off. Still, like that girlfriend who just doesn't want to commit, our doubts persist.
He has led us down this path so often, it is a wonder our psyches are still intact. If you believe ESPN's Justin Ray, there is a solid chance for success.
Tiger Woods enters the weekend T2nd. From 1997-2008, Woods won 14 of the 20 times he was top-5 thru 36. Since he is 0-for-6. #TheOpen— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) July 19, 2013
Shane Bacon reminded us of Tiger's amazing last shot in last year's second round.
Tiger Woods birdied his 18th hole today. Remember what he did on his final hole in the second round a year ago? http://t.co/wPVVeeIhWz— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) July 19, 2013
And, the odds have moved in Woods' favor to win it all.
He's putting well. He's shaping shots. He's doing everything he needs to do to win. Yet, in the back of our minds we know he has gone 16 majors and five years without winning the big one.
There is no question that each weekend at a major is crucial to Tiger. How many more times can he make this trek? How much more can our hearts take?
If you care about us at all, Tiger, you will win the Open Championship and move on to major title No. 16.