Today at the Dubai Desert Classic, we saw Tiger Woods card a 66, shooting his way up the leader board and back in contention. What has begun to get under my skin when it comes to Tiger Woods is the constant influx of articles claiming that whenever he shoots a round in the 60s, he is back.
There have been a plethora of opinions offered regarding Tiger Woods and his ability (or inability) to get to the winner's circle after that fateful Thanksgiving evening. He has shown glimpses of his old self, with periodic moments of brilliance.
On Saturday in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Tiger shot a scintillating 66, including seven birdies, five of which came on the back-nine. The excitement at Pebble that day, especially on 17 and 18 where Tiger finished birdie birdie, prompted every golf journalist in the country to spark the debate: "Is he back?" and "The Tiger Woods of old has returned!" Only to come out on Sunday with four bogeys on the front nine, eventually shooting a 75 and finishing T4.
This is merely one example of the countless times people have been too excited for one round of golf.
His showing at the Masters had the masses excited, finishing T4 was a "major" accomplishment considering that was his first tournament of the season. In his singles match at this year's Ryder Cup, he was on fire, torching Francesco Molinari with a flurry of birdies, including an eagle at 12.
There are no real indications that Tiger has returned to his old self.
These flashes of greatness have been overshadowed by inconsistent play and his appearing mortal to the rest of the PGA. At the Chevron tournament, one hosted by Tiger, he held a sizable lead heading into the final round. With Woods clad in his patented Sunday red shirt, Graeme McDowell was unfazed, rallying from four strokes back to defeat Tiger and claim the title.
His mystique and intimidation, not to mention the outrageous, unbelievable recovery shots, were the driving force behind his ability to win. With that no longer in play, Tiger is finding it more and more difficult to win. Until he can streak together multiple under-par rounds, coupled with that intimidation (easier said than done) we cannot take one round under-par and claim that the face of professional golf has returned.