4 June 2012
It was at Jack’s tournament this week that Tiger made his comeback official. Chalking up his 73rd PGA victory this week at the Memorial, Tiger tied tournament host, Jack Nicklaus for the 2nd most victories in PGA Tour history. Only the remarkable Sam Snead has more (82).
On the 16th hole with Jack watching from the broadcast tower, Tiger pulled off the shot of the year! Nicklaus was effusive in his praise of the shot, saying is was the best he’s ever seen to win a tournament. Let’s relive it.
Tiger’s 8 iron to the 16th green had unbelievably carried long, coming to rest on a downhill lie, nestled in the deep rough. His shot was to a downhill green that ran away from him, and down a short slope to the water lurking beyond. Quite enough to make any player gulp – at least once!
In complete Tiger-esque fashion, Tiger assessed the shot, finding the only landing spot that would keep his ball on the green, thus giving himself a putt to save par. Then he visualized the trajectory required to get the ball high enough to stop it from rolling into the water. Then he took practice swings with sufficient swing speed to cut through the deep rough and get his ball that high. Once he had the feel and vision of the shot, he stepped up with that Tiger Focus that we have seen all too little of these past couples of years and pulled off not only a great shot – but HE HOLED IT!
Forget that Tiger lead the field in fairways hit this week! (when was the last time he did that?) Or that he hit more greens in regulation that he has in a decade. It was that shot from the downslope behind the 16th green toward the water that told us Tiger is back!
I still don’t like the manufactured release that Sean Foley has him using. And he still can’t hit a controlled draw with that swing. So, though Tiger appears, once again, to be comfortable enough in his own skin to compete, there is way too much talent on tour these days for Tiger to be dominant again – with that swing!
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