8:42 PM EDT, June 4, 2012
Temper the expectations
It would be easy to say yes after that fabulous flop shot trickled into the 16th cup for 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 putting has been suspect before. He needs more consistency there. And he would agree.
Let's temper the temptation to declare Woods is all the way back and will be a dominator again. Let's see how he fares at Olympic Club in the U.S. Open.
Putter still a demon
We've already seen this movie, haven't we?
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.
Caddie Joe LaCava said: "Not that he putted bad, but if he would have made anything he would have won by six shots."
You cannot win a U.S. Open without owning the greens. Tiger still has some demons with a putter in his hands.
Will never be as dominant
Most surprising about Sunday's finish wasn't Tiger Woods' fifth victory. It was his 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 that Woods is going to rule at the U.S. Open.
It still seems early to assert Woods will dominate again, simply because he has been so inconsistent.
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?
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. He then missed the cut in Charlotte, even with a favorable ruling on a vanishing ball. And he was 40th again at The Players.
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.
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