Question of the Day: Is Tiger Woods back or was this weekend a case of playing the right course? [Updated]
Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune
Tiger Woods is halfway back. Swing instructor Sean Foley can go ahead and puff out his chest because Woods' long game is world-class again. The wild misses are gone, and the A+ swings -- like his 212-yard approach to No. 15 on Sunday -- have returned.
All that's missing now is the same thing that drove Johnny Miller mad -- dominance on the greens. He three-putted Augusta's greens six times; that's six more than during his transcendent victory in '97.
The word is that Woods has been so fixated with the full swing that he has slacked on his short game. If he's going to reach Jack Nicklaus' 18 majors, that needs to change.
Diane Pucin, Los Angeles Times
Some parts of Tiger Woods are back. His pouty face, his angry dropping of ill-performing golf clubs after a bad shot, his sullen post-play interview personality.
But after watching Woods contend briefly at the Masters it seems more unlikely than ever that he’ll beat the Jack Nicklaus record for all-time major wins or even win another major himself.
All those 20-somethings from all around the world? They really have no idea who Tiger Woods used to be. He might as well be Nicklaus, so long ago was Woods’ domination in their golf life span.
What they know is a Tiger Woods who carelessly misses two-foot par putts and who seems like some "Dancing With The Stars" rookie who’s constantly learning a new step (or swing) every week and never looking very comfortable.
So even at the place where he’s had his most memorable successes, Woods’ muscle-memory could only take him so far. And that wasn’t far enough. Whatever is missing from Woods’ game and psyche? It’s still missing.
Tom Yantz, Hartford Courant
He's on his way.
The raucous cheers that reverberated through the pines of the Augusta National cathedral of golf told us so. He pumped his fists like the vintage Woods who won 14 majors, and he made shots that reminded us how great he was and still can be. Fans cheered for him wherever he walked.
All this happened because of the memorable shots in his closing 67, and not just because the course was Augusta, including that hooking fairway wood to reach the par-five eighth in two and set up an eight-foot putt for eagle.
Woods was disappointed because he didn't achieve his goal of winning his fifth green jacket. Still, he was in the hunt on Sunday and stirred memories after shooting a 74 on Saturday.
So he's not all the way back, not yet. But his peers know this: Beware of the Tiger. Don’t count him out just yet.]
[Updated at 1:40 p.m.:
George Diaz, Orlando Sentinel
Tiger Woods is back.
Maybe not quite there yet, but close enough
His charge on the Tiger-friendly Augusta National course on Sunday during the Masters is a sign of things to come.
He seems to have his long game sorted out for the most part. And that new putter seems to be getting him closer to where he needs to be -- the most dominant player on the PGA course.
Let's be honest here: It's not like anybody has come out and seized this thing and screamed, "I am the man!"
Charl Schwartzel, Adam Scott, Jason Day, Martin Laird, Dustin Johnson and others all have put together nice tournament runs, but haven't shown the clout or consistency of Tiger in his prime.
New Tiger will never be the Old Tiger. But he is on his way to coming back far enough to become the most consistent golfer on the tour.
Given the herky-jerky landscape, that should be enough.]
Photo: Tiger Woods lines up a putt on the 18th green during the final round of the Masters. Credit: Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images