By Shawn Muller–
When the 2011 PGA Tour season was just getting underway, Tiger Woods was asked who he felt was the best golfer in the world.
His response: “When I get my swing dialed in?”
The first time I read that statement by Woods, I was taken aback a little bit. Sure, Tiger WAS the best golfer in the world prior to his personal “issues,” but to say that he has been a shell of his former self on the golf course would have been an understatement.
Heading into The Masters this past weekend, Woods had not won a major championship since the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines Golf Club, and had not won any tournament at all since the 2009 Australian Masters. In his four tournaments leading up to 2011 Masters, Tiger’s best finish was a 10th place showing at the Cadillac Championship.
No way was Tiger Woods anywhere close to being the best golfer in the world, and to read his comments about still being the best when he gets his swing “dialed in” was—in a word—laughable. Or so I thought.
This weekend at Augusta, Tiger Woods showed the world that if he does have his swing dialed in…he may, in fact, still be the best golfer in the world. Sunday was a prime example of this.
His 67 score was his lowest Sunday round ever at The Masters. He was electric from the tee, he hit his irons like he was a man possessed…basically, Tiger was looking like Tiger. He was tied for the lead at Augusta for the first time since 2007, and with the way he was playing the final 18 holes; you were beginning to feel like he was “back.” His swing was definitely “dialed in” except for one tiny problem: he couldn’t make a putt down the stretch.
Six, three putts…six. He missed one putt on the 15th green that was probably no more than 16 inches from the cup. He missed another “gimme” on the 12th. Basically, if Tiger Woods putts like Tiger Woods used to putt, he wins the 2011 Masters walking away. If the way Tiger played on Sunday is any indication of just how close he is to actually being “back,” and he can fix the putting problem, the golf world needs to be on high-alert.
For the first time in a long time, he looked like the “Man in Red” on Sundays that we were used to seeing for so many years. He had that confidence and swagger yesterday while walking the links, he hit big shot after big shot, he just couldn’t putt.
When Tiger Woods made his response to Tom Rinaldi about him still being the best golfer in the world if his swing was “dialed in,” I really did think it was a case of a man that couldn’t come to the realization that maybe his best days on the golf course were behind him.
After watching Tiger in The Masters this weekend…maybe he was right. If his swing is “dialed in,” maybe Woods IS, in fact, still the best golfer on the planet.
Do you agree with Shawn? Post your comments below.
Shawn Muller has lived in the great city of Chicago for 7 years. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and, in October of 2010, Shawn received his certificate in radio broadcasting. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” every Thursday night at 8:30 P.M., at www.blogtalkradio.com/spmuller24.