Tariq’s column – Game On -dlh

Tariq Engineer

He’s back. It was always going to be just a matter of time, but now it’s official. Victory at the Buick Invitational last week saw to that. The Tiger is on the prowl again.
Woods’ victory won’t rank among his most dominating. There was no scintillating Sunday charge either. He simply let everyone around him self-destruct, while avoiding the big mistakes himself.
And that is where the significance of Tiger’s victory lies. Last year Tiger seemed to falter every time he was on the hunt. It was Tiger who hit the wayward shot, or missed the big putt. That was not the case Sunday, where Tiger rammed home an 18-foot birdie putt on 72nd hole to punctuate his win.
Moreover Tiger’s triumph helps set up what was already shaping to be an intriguing year. Tiger could just have easily slipped down the world rankings to third had he finished behind Ernie Els. Instead he closed the gap on Vijay Singh for the No. 1 ranking in golf.
Golf ********– well, the golf media anyway ********– has been screaming for a rivalry since Tiger stamped his considerable dominance on the game.
Last year Singh took advantage of Tiger’s slide to become his own one-man show, Phil Mickelson’s Masters victory not withstanding.
But this year it looks like we may finally have a true rivalry. In addition to Tiger, Singh has won once, and could have won twice. The battle for No. 1 is clearly one to watch the rest of the year.
And let’s not forget Ernie Els either. Els was a few missed putts away from winning three of the four majors last year. Two weeks ago he shot a course record 62 in the final round of the Sony Open, only to be piped by Singh.
Singh, Woods and Els currently stand 1-2-3 in the world rankings, and 2-1-4 on the money list. All three have made public their desire to be the best in the world. Given the way the season has begun, it looks like we could be in for a most fascinating year. And that can only be good for golf.

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