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Is Woods back or was he just playing right course?

Short game lacking

Teddy Greenstein

Chicago Tribune

Tiger Woods is halfway back. Swing instructor Sean Foley can go ahead and puff out his chest because Woods' long game is world-class again. The wild misses are gone, and the A-plus swings — such as his 212-yard approach to No. 15 on Sunday — have returned.

All that's missing now is the same thing that drove Johnny Miller mad — dominance on the greens. Woods three-putted Augusta National's greens six times; that's six more than during his transcendent victory in 1997.

The word is Woods has been so fixated with the full swing, he has slacked on his short game.

If he's going to match Jack Nicklaus' 18 majors, that needs to change.

He's old news

Diane Pucin

Los Angeles Times

Some parts of Tiger Woods are back. His pouty face, his angry dropping of ill-performing clubs after a bad shot, his sullen post-round interview personality.

But after watching Woods contend briefly at the Masters, it seems more unlikely than ever that he'll beat Jack Nicklaus' record for major wins or even win another major.

All those 20-somethings from all around the world? They have no idea who Tiger Woods used to be. He might as well be Nicklaus, so long ago was Woods' domination in their golf life span.

Even at the place where he has had his most memorable successes, Woods' muscle memory could take him only so far. And that wasn't far enough. Whatever is missing from Woods' game and psyche is still missing.

Back on the prowl

Tom Yantz

Hartford Courant

He's on his way.

The raucous cheers that reverberated through the pines at Augusta National told us so. Tiger Woods pumped his fists like the vintage Woods who won 14 majors, and he hit shots that reminded us how great he was and still can be.

All this happened not just because the course was Augusta, but because of the memorable shots in his closing 67, including a hooking fairway wood to reach the par-5 eighth in two and set up an 8-foot eagle putt.

Woods was disappointed because he didn't achieve his goal of winning his fifth green jacket. Still, he was in the hunt on Sunday.

So he's not all the way back yet. But his peers know this: Beware of the Tiger. Don't count him out just yet.

He's on the verge

George Diaz

Orlando Sentinel

Tiger Woods' charge on the Tiger-friendly Augusta National course Sunday is a sign of things to come.

He seems to have his long game sorted out. And that new putter seems to be getting him closer to where he needs to be.

Let's be honest: It's not like anybody has come out and seized this thing and screamed: "I am the man!"

Charl Schwartzel, Adam Scott, Jason Day, Martin Laird, Dustin Johnson and others have put together nice tournament runs but haven't shown the clout or consistency of Tiger in his prime.

New Tiger never will be the Old Tiger. But he is on his way to becoming the most consistent golfer on the tour.

Given the herky-jerky landscape, that should be enough.

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