Tiger won this past weekend at Jack Nicklaus’ tournament, The Memorial, and he did it in “tiger” fashion. He was three shots back when the players reached the back nine, and he won by two shots. He birdied three of the last four holes, and one of those was an amazing flop shot, chip-in that was reminiscent of the 16th hole at the Masters many moons ago. He was fist pumping, and the players around him who were in the hunt just folded right and left.
Now this is his second win on the tour this year. If you count his tournament in the LA area last December, Chevron Challenge (many top 50 players but not an official PGA event), he has won three times in 6 ½ months. This is clearly a stat most any player would love to have. Tiger, Hunter Mahan and Jason Dufner are the only two time winners on the Tour this year. But, these two official wins and the unofficial have all come on courses/tournaments he has won multiple times. This weekend’s win at The Memorial was his fifth win there. I thought I was having a déjà vu when he was putting that 8 footer on the 18th hole – he has had and made that same putt on Sunday at Jack’s event several times. He has won Arnie’s tournament 7 times, and the Chevron Challenge 5 times!
The remaining three majors are on courses where Tiger has not won in the past. In just over a week, we will see him tee it up at the US Open which is at Olympic Club in San Francisco – he has not ever won there. In July, he heads across the pond to play the British Open at Royal Lytham and St. Anne’s – none of his Open victories of the past were here. Then in August, he travels to South Carolina for the PGA Championship at Kiawah – another venue where he has not won (not even sure if he has even played the course).
The old saying “familiarity breeds success” seems to truly apply to Tiger. And when one has reconstructed their swing whereby you actually have to “look” at the hole differently because you move every shot left to right, being on familiar turf has to make a big difference. But if he can win one of these majors this summer, then I will be a believer that he is truly back. Perhaps never back to where he once was, but back where he can intimidate and implore his will over the field at certain times to pull out a victory……. Whether you like Tiger or not, it’s great theatre to have him back “in the hunt” and a serious topic of the conversation for the majors this summer.