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October 11, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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Tiger: out of the woods?

When asked about his prospects of facing the embattled Tiger Woods, European Ryder Cup member Rory McIlroy quipped “I would love to face him”. Woods, struggling through his first winless season on the PGA Tour, reportedly later shot back: “Be careful what you wish for”. McIlroy and co. wished for a Ryder Cup win and got exactly that at Celtic Manor on 4 October.

There’s no denying Tiger has lost his aura of invincibility after a tumultuous year on and off the golf course. Following a mysterious car crash outside his Florida home and the revelations of a string of extramarital affairs, Woods announced he was taking an “indefinite” break from golf. He admitted his “indiscretions” in a painfully scripted apology and pleaded for privacy away from golf. For all his scoring off the course, Woods was racking up equally high numbers on it after he made his long-awaited comeback at Augusta in April.

Woods has faced the media’s intense glare, but has not yet faced the battle for reclaiming the Number One position he has managed to retain over this period. Unlike his former Gillette-starring tennis counterpart Roger Federer, Woods has not had the title of King stripped from him just yet. He does, however, face a challenge similar to Federer’s in rediscovering the form that propelled him to the summit of his sport. Ryder Cup hero Lee Westwood has now set his sights on dethroning the American after replacing Phil Mickelson as Number Two in the world rankings. As Federer can testify, holding on to the top spot is difficult enough. Regaining it with the world predicting your demise can be another matter entirely.

Woods began the Ryder Cup true to recent form, slumping with early losses. Along with partner Steve Stricker, he was routed in a 6 and 5 loss to Luke Donald and Westwood. Eventually, he came from two down to demolish Europe’s Francesco Molinari. His performance with the swing and putt, shots that have eluded him in his recent barren run, may suggest a return to form is back on the cards. He will be hoping that his
final round in the Cup was merely a preview of things to come in 2011.

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