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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, March 27, 2001

All's right in world ... of golf

By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer

Now that Tiger Woods is officially on a roll again, maybe we can all rest a little easier.

With Woods snaking in 60-foot birdie putts and making charges again we can breathe a collective sigh of relief and save our concern for other more inconsequential things in life. You know, like the stock market, gas prices, etc.

Until Woods won at Bay Hill last week and followed it up yesterday with a victory in The Players Championship, this notion of a lengthening "slump" had taken on a curious life of its own. Some were even talking crisis here.

Never mind that Woods had been there in contention for most of the PGA tournaments he played in. Or, that he had won a tournament in Thailand and another in Argentina.

The wins that count are at home and when you're Tiger Woods the monster that has been created must be fed regularly. When you haven't won a PGA event in six, seven, eight tries, well, it just can't be. There must be something wrong.

"The intimidation is disappearing," Thomas Bjorn had even announced to the world at the Dubai Cup, not long after Woods' ball went kerplunk into the pond for a double bogey on the 72nd hole.

The unraveling of Woods?

Hardly. Just a brief revelation that, despite his well-stuffed trophy room and bank account, Tiger could still be human after all. Remember, it happened to Jack Nicklaus, too.

It is just that there are so few genuine superstars, so few individuals blessed with such grand gifts that when one comes along we expect a lot and raise the bar even higher to almost impossible heights. We expect perfection. And demand it just about every week.

Heaven help one of the anointed who, at the still-tender age of 25, had managed to win 23 titles and three consecutive majors and doesn't deliver it on schedule.

So when Woods started the PGA year here in the Mercedes Championships with the admission he was, "a little off this week" and followed it without winning his next few starts, the questions mounted. Concerns grew.

When Joe Durant entered March with two Tour victories and Woods didn't have any, well, red flags went up like a May Day parade in Pyongyang.

How could any Tiger fan look at the weekly list of the top money winners and not be perplexed by the standings on March 15 that not only had Woods 19th but trailing Kevin Sutherland and Garrett Willis?

"I felt like I was playing some pretty good golf over the last few months," Woods said yesterday. "It is just that you need to have some good breaks come your way."

Presumably the back-to-back victories have reassured Tiger's legions. The way he was able to mount a charge should quell the concerns of previous weeks.

For Tiger is winning again and, as if right on schedule, the Masters is just around the corner.