ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 26:  Tiger Woods of the US...

Is Tiger set to blast out of his life's bunker?

Seven and the Ragged Tiger

Love him or hate him, Tiger Woods is good for the game of golf. One thing for sure is he has been controversial. He has been in the news a lot over the last few years.

Is he the best ever? Can’t stand the guy? What happened to his game? Can you believe he cheated on his wife? Have you read Haney’s book? Is his knee/head/Achilles ok? Will he catch Jack’s record winning Major Championships?

Seven continually repeated questions, so many opinions, so many yet unanswered.

Seven Time Winner

Sunday might have been the first time Tiger has answered back with his golf game and not his comments in a press conference.

This past weekend, Eldrick won for the first time since the 2009 BMW Championship, giving him 72 victories all-time. This is the seventh..that is right…seventh time he has won the Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Invitational. He played very well (other for a couple of errant tee shots on the back nine) and was the only player on the first page of the leaderboard when the day started to post an under par round in the windy conditions.

Woods started out the tournament with a fairly routine 69, but propelled himself to the top of the leaderboard arena with a 7 under par 65 on Friday. The win propelled Tiger from 18th in the World Rankings to 6th. One place ahead of last year’s Masters Champion, Charl Schwartzel.

Scratching the Seven Year Itch

In two weeks, Tiger looks to be in very good form as he attempts to win his first Masters Title and 5th overall. The last time he won…7 years ago in 2005.

As I write this on Monday it will be just one short week until I find some good ol’ Southern hospitality. This year I will be in attendance at a practice round on Monday. This will be my second trip to the Masters as I was lucky enough to go in 2009. On that trip I was there to watch the weekend – being in attendance on both Saturday and Sunday.

That day Tiger and Phil were paired together. Both were starting Sunday 7 shots back. I followed the twosome for the first 7 holes on the front nine. I saw Mickelson hit some of the most amazing shots I had ever witnessed in person as he was in route to a 6 under par 30 on the front nine. I moved ahead of the throngs to get into position at the seats we had placed out directly to the right of the 12th tee.

Yes I was there when Mickelson splashed it in the water and pretty much dashed his hopes. But for about 2 ½ hours that day, the electricity in the air was something you could just sense. This was Tiger and Phil, this was them playing together and playing well. This was exciting.

Seventh Sign of the Golf Apocalypse?

A lot of people have written him off, and maybe this last win was just a flash in a washed up pan.

I don’t think so.

There has been a lot happening with Tiger in the past couple of years, but right around the President’s Cup last fall it all started looking different. The focus looked different. The swing looked different.

Now the confidence appears to be back, the focus appears to have returned. The broadcasters and fellow tour players are starting to say it is looking again like the “Old” Tiger Woods. Will the results be different?

If this is in fact true – and Tiger is able to bring his game back to the level that he was previously able to achieve-  it will be an awakening for the young tour players that have not really had to experience the Tiger effect over the last 2 ½ years.

One thing is for sure. No matter what, he once again has the golf fans talking. And THAT – is good for the game of golf.

Until next time, Stay Classy White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia!

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Johnny Goodman writes a weekly sports column for The Soap Boxers. His articles can be found in The Goodman File.

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