Tiger Woods: What Does He Need to Compete and Win Again on the PGA Tour?

David KindervaterCorrespondent ISeptember 1, 2011

JOHNS CREEK, GA - AUGUST 12:  Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the eighth hole during the second round of the 93rd PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club on August 12, 2011 in Johns Creek, Georgia.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

The last we heard from the ongoing saga that is Tiger Woods' full-time return to the PGA Tour, he didn't really know when he would play another competitive round of golf.

His health was improved. That was no longer a detriment to his seemingly endless comeback. But opening rounds of 77-73 at the 93rd PGA Championship last month sent Woods packing for the weekend and feeling like he needed more practice and more time to work on his swing.

"I need some work," Woods said after his early exit from Atlanta Athletic Club's Highlands Course. "It's a matter of just doing the work. I need to go out there and spend hours getting it done."

Some skeptics suggested that Woods take a "minor league" approach and get his game in shape on the Nationwide Tour, something I believe the 14-time major champion would never consider at his current level of play because, quite honestly, he would get beat out there.

The Nationwide Tour is frothing with talent that will, in a year's time, be playing—and quite possibly winning—on the "big" tour.

But I have to admit, I would love to see Woods, one of the greatest golfers in the history of the game, head-to-head with the top 25 on the Nationwide Tour.

Still, Tiger Woods is obviously not opposed to playing in "lesser" tournaments. Earlier this week, he said he would compete in the Frys.com Open in early October at CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, Calif., an event he has never participated in before.

"I always enjoy competing in my home state, and this tournament fits my schedule perfectly," Woods said on his official Web site. "I'm looking forward to seeing some old friends."

Woods also suggested he might add another PGA Tour event to his schedule before playing in Asia and Australia later in the year.

I think Tiger Woods can practice and play all he wants, but it will be the combination of a clear mind, healthy body and then a comfort level with his golf swing—in that order—that will, at the very least, put him back in contention at PGA Tour events.

It was obvious from some of the swings I was seeing from Woods at the PGA Championship—and I watched almost all of them—that he had, at times, completely lost his focus. He spent time in 22 bunkers and put five shots in the water. He also botched one putt so badly he almost missed the ball.

I'm all for the hard work Woods is planning to put in. Practice makes perfect, as they say. And to get in on some competitive rounds of golf won't hurt him, either. But it's another famous adage, from the legendary Bobby Jones, that I think makes the most sense for Woods.

Until he's at peace on the five-and-a-half-inch course between his ears—until he is honestly able to sort through and eliminate the clutter, both personal and professional, that has plagued him the past few years of his life—he'll continue to struggle.