It's been more than two years since that fateful Thanksgiving weekend when Tiger Woods' life began unraveling, first with a mysterious car accident, and then a barrage of revelations about his serial infidelity. In the wake of the humiliating scandal, the world's number-one golfer lost his wife and numerous lucrative endorsement deals. Beset by injury and, presumably, a shaken focus, he fell to 52nd in the world rankings. But on Sunday, Woods finally turned in his first post-scandal victory at the Chevron World Challenge in California. Has the golfing legend returned to form?
Yes. Welcome back, Tiger: Sure, Sunday's win came at an unofficial event with a small field, says Mark Lamport-Stokes at Reuters, but Tiger "played well for four consecutive rounds," something he's struggled to do lately. Tiger has made big changes to his life and game, ditching his longtime caddie, for example, and, on Sunday, Tiger and his new sidekick worked well together. "In throwing off much of the old for the new, it would now seem that the old Tiger is back — or at least a new and perhaps an improved version."
"Analysis: Chevron win suggests Tiger is back to his best"
Let's not get ahead of ourselves: "The win is a step in the right direction, but Sunday was hardly the final round of the U.S. Open," says Kurt Badenhausen at Forbes. The Chevron is an event Woods himself hosts, on a course he knows very well. Tiger had just 17 challengers, and the five top-ranked golfers in the world weren't among them. To convince me (not to mention mega-sponsors), Woods is going to have to win a few more.
"Is Tiger Woods back?"
At the very least, it's a good story: Despite the relatively weak field, Sunday's win was a "landmark moment in the arc of golf's broader narrative," says Lawrence Donegan at Britain's Guardian. Woods' fall from grace was epic and his victory this weekend would make a good plot point in a sweeping movie. But before Aaron Sorkin starts working on the script, the once-great golfer will need to win against some truly difficult competition.
"Tiger Woods's Chevron win is a great story – but is he really back?"