Golf

Tiger Woods wins 76th PGA TOUR title at WGC-Cadillac: Is he ‘back’?

Tiger Woods is inching ever closer to a lot of milestones as he notched his 76th PGA TOUR win on Sunday at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral with a final round of 71 to earn a two-shot win. 

Woods has won 17 of the 41 individual WGC events he’s played in over the course of his career. He’s recorded 32 top-10’s in those starts and earned almost $25 million dollars in those events alone. It’s just like the old Tiger to thrive on the biggest of stages.  

Woods limped into the finish on Sunday and finished with two bogies in the final three holes, but was solid from tee to green. Still, the win puts the Southern California native within six tournaments of Sam Snead’s all-time PGA TOUR wins record. 

The biggest question is now whether or not Woods is officially “back”. While winning among a difficult WGC field is always tough, it’s still not the measuring stick that Woods himself created by becoming a legend. Even winning two out of four events played in 2013 — an incredible 50 percent win rate on the PGA TOUR this season isn’t good enough. 

It’s all about the majors for the former world No. 1.

In fact, Woods can’t simply win a golf tournament in order to become the mythical creature of sorts the sports world once saw. He’s got to dominate, win often and win golf’s most sacred events. The WGC is a positive sign, but until Woods competes and plays well on the weekend at Augusta this year, no one will or should be ready to anoint him as the old Tiger. 

But all signs point to him trending in that direction. On Sunday at Doral, he poured it on a strong field that included major winners Graeme McDowell, Phil Mickelson, Keegan Bradley and Ryder Cup players Steve Stricker and Sergio Garcia all in tow. When Woods is making the undisputed best players in the world look like they’re playing another game, then it’s worth bringing up that conversation. 

Woods isn’t back yet, but he’s as close as he’s ever come to being there. The game of golf will benefit greatly if he can regain the form he showed on Sunday during the majors this season. Fans will come back to a game that can always use a shot of adrenaline in droves. Despite his struggles of the past, people love greatness and watching history. And fortunately for the sports world, it stands to reason that there could be a resurgence that turns into “I am Tiger Woods” 2.0. 

We should all be so lucky. 

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His credits include Yahoo Sports and Bleacher Report, among others.
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