The greatest golfer of this era, Tiger Woods, has been in a major slump (pun intended) over the last few years. The last of his 14 major wins came back in 2008, and ever since his ugly break-up with ex-wife, Elin Nordegren, Tiger has not been himself on the golf course.
|Photo by: Sam Greenwood
You can thank world class alpine ski racer, Lindsey Vonn, for bringing back the old Tiger.
It was just made official on March 18th that Woods and Vonn are dating. I'm sure he had not been lonely since divorcing Elin in 2010, but there had not been any public announcement of any relationships until now.
It is very well possible that this is a coincidence, but at the same time I think it is very much likely that Woods just needed a woman by his side to get back to winning on the course.
When Tiger's infidelities were made public in late 2009, his play began to suffer. Since turning pro in 1996, he had never gone more than 9 months between PGA Tour victories. But once the scandal broke, Tiger went two and a half years without winning consistently.
His earnings for 2010 and 2011 were his two lowest totals since 1996, and his world ranking slowly took a toll, finally bottoming out at 52nd in 2011. Prior to that, Tiger had kept his ranking in the top 10 for over 750 weeks.
But it appears that Woods is back. With his win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he has officially regained the top overall spot in the world rankings -- a spot at one point, he virtually owned for well over a decade.
It isn't likely that Woods will get back to being the dominant player he once was since he's now past his prime, but even an "old" Tiger is still better than 95% of the field on any given weekend. So don't be surprised if he reels off a few more wins and maybe a couple more majors before it's all said and done, enough to ensure that he goes down in history as the greatest golfer of all-time.
Let's just hope, for his sake, Tiger can keep his personal life stable enough to be able to accomplish that.