By Ann Liguori
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It's been a long two years for the man who once dominated golf on the course and the boardrooms of a variety of companies off the course. Never before had a star athlete reached such heights in a sport and so quickly lost it – the game, the marriage, endorsements and the respect of many. Tiger went two years without winning a golf tournament. To most professional golfers, that's not uncommon. For Tiger, who dominated the sport for so long, that winless drought seemed unfeasible!
But Sunday's win at the Chevron World Challenge could be just the medicine the doctor ordered. Could sinking that birdie putt on the 18th for the win be the putt that re-launches his legendary career? Sure, the field was limited to 18 players. But that's not the point. Golfers build on positive energy and rely on confidence, focus and great mental strength. When you are used to winning, as Tiger was for so many years, anything less is unacceptable. So enduring 26 'winless' tournaments had to be hell. Now that the weight has been lifted, Tiger could be a new man come 2012!
After the tournament, Tiger said that people don't realize how hard it is to win golf tournaments. Tiger often made it look so easy that perhaps golf fans took Tiger winning for granted.
But those inside the game know how difficult it is to put four straight excellent rounds of golf together and even if you play lights out, how tough it is to hold off the competition, particularly with so much depth in the game. If you are not on top of your game, physically and mentally, there are many golfers who are, eager for the taking, as evidenced by the variety of players who won PGA Tour events the past two years. (Only Mark Wilson, Steve Stricker, Bubba Watson, Luke Donald, Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson won twice in 2011, counting PGA Tour wins and Majors).
Two long years. Scandal. Divorce. Less practice to spend time with the kids, he reportedly said. Physical ailments. Time was needed to deal with everything. Tiger was in crisis mode and rightly so. New swing coach. Different swing. New caddie.
Yes, it's been a long road for Tiger, now the underdog. The winless drought is officially over and here's to all good things for Tiger in the New Year.
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