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Is Tiger Woods back to where he can dominate? [Poll]

June 04, 2012

Tiger Woods birdied three of his final four holes Sunday, including a crazy chip shot on what appeared to be a likely bogey at the 16th hole, to win the Memorial Tournament for the fifth time. 

So is he back to being the dominant golfer we once knew and (kind of) loved?

Just take a look at that incredible shot on the 16th (video above) a few more times and it's hard to say he's not, right?

But then again, we've been down this road before with Woods during the last two-plus years, ever since he slipped from the world No. 1 ranking he held on to for so long. One tournament he looks like the Tiger of old, the next he struggles to make the cut or misses it altogether.

Writers from around Tribune Co. will discuss whether Woods is back to being the dominant golfer he once was. Check back throughout the day for their opinions and join the discussion by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.

Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune

We've already seen this movie, haven't we? Tiger Woods triumphs at a key tournament hosted by a legend. And then ...

Woods bettered par every day at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March. He was back, we all believed. And then he stepped to the first tee at the Masters and drove it so far left, you would have thought he was starring in a sequel to "Sideways."

He never contended. So I’m not buying it this time. Yes, he played beautifully at Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament on a course that could host a U.S. Open tomorrow. He hit it high; he hit it far, using an 8-iron from 201 yards for his tee shot on 16.

Caddie Joe LaCava said: "Not that he putted bad, but if he would have made anything he would have won by six shots."

And there's the rub: You cannot win a U.S. Open without owning the greens. Woods still has some demons with a putter in his hands.

Tom Yantz, Hartford Courant

It would be easy to say yes after that fabulous flop shot trickled into the 16thcup for a birdie that shook the landscape of Ohio.

Woods isn’t focused on dominating, though. Of course, he'd love to. But his objective is to win.

There were encouraging signs at the Memorial, such has leading the field in greens in regulation (53 of 72) and hitting 13 of 14 fairways Sunday. He also displayed great shot-making flair under pressure.

But his putting has been suspect before. He needs more consistency there. And he would agree.

Let's temper the temptation to declare that Woods is all the way back and will be a dominator again. That's not to say it won’t happen. Let’s see how he fares at Olympic Club in the U.S. Open.

[Updated at 10:20 a.m.:

Jeff Shain, Orlando Sentinel

Didn’t we have this conversation about two months ago? The Arnold Palmer Invitational was an even bigger Tiger romp, turning up the hyperventilation a week before the Masters.

Let’s recap: Woods tied for 40th at Augusta National, frustrated to the point of drop-kicking a club. He then missed the cut in Charlotte, even with a favorable ruling on a vanishing ball. And he was 40th again at The Players.

In the midst of his previous swing changes, Woods still usually managed to place among the top 15. Now Jason Dufner owns as many top-3 finishes as Woods has top-10s, yet I’m not hearing anyone suggest Dufner’s ready to dominate.

Somewhere on the path to Domination is a stop called Contending Regularly. We still haven’t seen enough of that from Woods. His wedge play from 125 yards and in has been spotty all year, one magical chip notwithstanding.

It’ll take more than three birdies in a four-hole closing stretch to convince me this is the onset of Tiger Reign II.

Mark Wogenrich, Allentown Morning Call

Most surprising to me about Sunday’s finish at The Memorial wasn’t Tiger Woods’ fifth victory at Jack Nicklaus’ tournament. It was his head-to-head, 17-shot win over Rickie Fowler, who came to the Memorial with a win and two top-five finishes in his last three events.

Maybe that’s just good days and bad days finding an intriguing confluence. Or maybe it signals the tantalizing prospect that Woods is going to school the kids next week at the U.S. Open.

It still seems early to assert Woods will dominate again, simply because he has been so inconsistent. Woods has two wins, two T40s and a missed cut in his last five events.

Further, analyst Johnny Miller said he suspected nerves got to Woods at the Masters, which was inconceivable during the 2000s. Most likely, Woods won’t ever dominate the game as he did then. But alas, who will?]


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