It is nearly impossible to overstate how good Tiger Woods was in his prime. From 1999 to 2003, Woods won 32 tournaments. Not one other player did that. In fact, the next closest was a meager 8 wins.

From 1997 to 2008 – largely regarded as his most dominant years – Woods was a combined 126 strokes under par in Majors. Of the 138 other players with at least 40 rounds in Majors, the next best score was 63 over par. Woods was 189 strokes better than anyone was during that time. [The Golf Channel]

There are plenty of talented golfers that were around during that time. Plenty more are still active while Woods is trying yet again to stage a comeback. Tiger Woods is to talented golfers what a yacht is to a kayak; there are levels to this kind of thing.

Now, the man that brought golf back into the mainstream is trying to bring himself back into the mix on the PGA tour. Watching him this weekend is an exercise in nostalgia.

In the second round, Woods lost a tee shot into a hazard and wound up with a double bogey. The seams appeared to be coming apart as they did in the past. Then, however, Woods sunk a 40-foot putt from the fringe for birdie and followed that up with some peak Tiger. In the rough, looking at a difficult play to the green, Woods stuck his approach three feet from the cup. For a moment, he was back.

He finished the round at 1-under par, making the cut but double-digit strokes off the pace. That was okay with fans. Woods had briefly returned to form, and that was enough to remind everyone who he once was.

Before the affairs, before the four back surgeries, before pain medication to cope with his injuries led him to passing out behind the wheel of his car, Woods was an icon. Now, he is human. Maybe people will like him more now that the mask of greatness has faded to mere mortality.

By: Thomas Penney
Photo by: Keith Allison