Ten years ago at Pebble Beach, Tiger Woods put on the most dominant performance in the history of golf, winning the US Open by 15 shots over Miguel Angel Jimenez and Ernie Els. That week Tiger was 12-under par, with his two closest competitors at +3. In a career filled with dominance, being able to say this was easily Tiger’s finest performance is a no-brainer. Winning a major by 15 shots is WAY more difficult to do than say, Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak. If Joe had hit in 100 straight games, then maybe the feats would be more comparable.
The point is this — a lot has happened in the last 10 years in the life of Tiger Woods. But there are two things I can assure you of:
1) Tiger’s competitive spirit is there as much as ever. He’d rather divorce his wife than give up the World’s #1 ranking to Phil Mickelson this weekend.
2) Things have been relatively quiet in Tiger-Land for the past month or so. I’m sure he’s been practicing.
Alas, there are still a few unknowns.
1) Has Tiger been successful in working on his swing without swing coach Hank Haney?
2) Has Tiger truly been practicing as much as he needs to be, or has he actually been focusing on his marriage? I hate to say it, but he can’t do both.
Aside from Tiger’s track record of success at Pebble, are the facts that he is a SoCal kid who has always played well in Cali. Even more important, he’s been very successful on Pebble’s bumpy poa annua — which tend to torment less mentally tough players. Pebble is still a course that demands patience, and demands that tough shots be pulled off if you want to stay out of the Pacific Ocean. So the question remains, which Tiger will we see at the US Open this week?
I think the Tiger of old will be there.