Anand Datla in New Providence, Bahamas
December 03, 2016: The sea in the Bahamas shines in a glorious shade of azure blue, as if the sky were looking at itself through the waters in the ocean below. It is a sight of mythical beauty that is finding resonance on the Albany golf course this week – through the performance of Tiger Woods.
You would be hard pressed to believe he were making a comeback, playing competitive golf for the first time in over 15 months. Through the first eight holes on Thursday and then the second round, Tiger Woods showed he still had it in him to play some extra-ordinary golf.
Woods was as clinically effective explaining his spotless effort on Friday as he was on the course. “I really had it dialled in both ways,” said Woods. “I was working it both ways and I really had nice control of my traj(ectory). That was key.
“I was able to keep this ball down when I needed to and send it at times.” With Justin Rose pulling out to nurse his back, Woods played alone on Friday and produced a spectacular 7-under 65.
The galleries were brimming with energy as Tiger Woods marched between his strokes, with a smile on his face, nodding intermittently at his adoring collection of fans.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing either. Tiger Woods showed some resilience too. Tiger pulled his tee shot at the 8th into the waste area, but produced a vintage chip shot to save par.
Tiger made double bogeys in the first round, at the 16th and 18th holes. He was struck by a déjà vu moment at the 16th on Friday. The tee shot was the problem again, as he landed in the bush.
The difficult second shot kept Tiger rooted in the waste area and the third shot was only enough to get him inside of 30 feet on the green. But in a moment of sheer magic, Tiger sank the putt before producing a mighty roar and his trademark punch of the air.
It is too early for verdicts. We will know what this phase brings to Tiger Woods, with the passage of time.
One thing is clear though. Tiger Woods is a special golfer and he remains just that even if he is playing golf after a lengthy break.