After 749 days without winning, the guessing game of whether Tiger Woods would ever come back to being the world's best golfer is over.
With the help of a Canadian-born golf coach, Woods ended two years of doubts since his last win. It was partly his mechanics, partly his head that had kept him out of the win column since late 2009. But Sunday he won the Chevron World Challenge tournament in Tiger Woods fashion, birdying the last two holes in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and put all doubters aside.
He talked about being a stranger to victory, and he talked out how coach Sean Foley helped him put his game together. He'd had criticism for going to the Canadian but it all worked right. He got his game back.
"Last year I was very one dimensional how I played. I played only right to left. I did not have the swing of position where I could get a left to right ball at all," Woods said in an post victory interview.
"I somehow putted well... got myself into a spot where I had a chance to win a golf tournament, but it was very one dimensional. Sean and I tried to fix it last year, but at that point, but it was just not happening. This year it's exciting, because I'm able to hit both shots and all different trajectories," Woods said as he played in his 27th tournament since his last win, in Australia.
Foley, on his website, says his approach is to take a golfer's life experience, his philosophy, blend it with physics, biomechanics and geometry and come out with a solution. Woods' confidence was restored.
"I felt very good about my game. That's the difference," Woods said of ending the drought. "I felt very good how I was playing, how everything was progressing from playing the exhibition matches right before the Aussie Open, playing the Aussie Open, playing the Presidents Cup. I got better each and every tournament.
"That was something I felt today. I kept looking back at my schedule over the past year, and I thought, I keep getting better. So there is no reason why I can't go out there and post 65 today and go ahead and win this tournament."
He didn't do that. He had a workmanlike 69 to close, but the fact he didn't crumble in the stretch spoke volumes. It erased at least some of the soap opera existence he'd had for two years, since crashing his car into a hydrant, breaking up with this wife and making some ugly personal admissions about his personal life.
When his last birdie putt from six feet rolled into the cup, Woods pumped his fist as in old times. He shouted. He let loose a ton of frustration that he – and his followers – had been feeling for two years.
He was endeavouring to remake his image and a golf game that used to be the best.
"As far as being pleased, I'm pleased with the way that I'm able to fix my swing out there. I know what I need to do to do it right," he said. "It feels great. Kind of hard for me to elaborate beyond that. I know it's been awhile, but for some reason, it feels like it hasn't. As far as making the putt and the feeling afterward, I think I was screaming something. But it was just that I won the golf tournament. I pulled it off with one down, two to go."
That matters to him. He's back – mechanically and mentally.