With the seemingly never-ending collection of articles being written about Tiger Woods and his well-documented recent swing changes, it's becoming painful to endure much more of the discussion.
After nearly a year of over-analysis, most people are wondering where the results are. Tiger hasn't won a major championship in almost three years. And he hasn't won a golf tournament of any kind on the PGA Tour since the BMW Championship in 2009.
Sure, a coaching change and complete swing overhaul were not on his agenda after returning from four months away from competition last year. But Woods understands it's part of a process.
"It takes time," Woods said matter-of-factly during his annual pre-Masters presser. "It took a long time with Butch (Harmon). It took a long time with Hank (Haney). And it's taken a while so far with Sean (Foley)."
With the 2011 Masters tournament ready to tee off Thursday, four-time champion Tiger Woods is making his 17th appearance at Augusta as he's still experiencing the growing pains of his well-documented new swing. Which leads many to wonder, myself included, why a return to his previous, uber-successful golf swing—let's say circa 1997 or 2000—isn't the instant solution?
Simply put, Woods considers his latest collaboration with teacher Sean Foley the next logical step in a career of necessary adjustments.
"I won here (at Augusta) in '97 thinking that was a great week, but I knew I couldn't repeat it," Woods said. "That swing would not put me in contention each and every week and I needed to change that. A couple years later I changed it and had a nice little run of years. Same thing when I moved on to (work with) Hank. Same deal. I felt I could get to another level. And I felt like I did. And now I'm here with Sean and I feel like I can get to another level (again)."
Obviously, it's a work in progress. But don't forget the physical toll some of those previous swings were taking on Woods' body.
"I can't swing that way (anymore)," Woods said without hesitation about his game of 10-plus years ago. "My knee took a pretty good pounding that way. I tore cartilage and I tore my ACL over the years, so I don't want to swing that way. It's too much pain."
Still, with all the uncertainty and with all the disdain from the doubters, Woods remains confident.
When asked if he felt ready to win this week, he nodded quickly in affirmation. And when questioned if he thinks he'll still break Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major victories, it was more of the same. A smile. A nod. Total assurance.
"I believe in myself," he said. "There's nothing wrong with believing in myself."
Now, whether that belief—and the golf swing that accompanies it—translates into a fifth green jacket remains to be seen.