That was just last week.
We sometimes forget we expect almost other-worldly performance from Tiger. And despite winning 3 times last year, and winning the very first PGA Tour tournament for 2013, with a swing still occasionally mis-firing like the video above from last week (in Tiger's words below, 'Old pattern coming back'), we still point to the lack of a major and say, not quite, not quite.
But nevertheless, World Golf Ranking-wise:
1 Rory McIlroy, Nir 12.43 584.15 47 -37.16 0.00
2 Tiger Woods, USA 9.28 371.38 40 -19.93 50.00
That's from a low of no. 58 in Nov 2011.
The high expectation is actually a compliment. We expect so much because he has delivered so much in the past.
Well, consider this. Even if he wins a major, he's not 'back.' Tiger will never be the same. He's human. And just like us, he gets older. And just like us, every 15 years, every single cell in his body is a completely new one. Albeit a copy. And just like a photocopied page, some errors creep in and get magnified each time. It's not just his swing that's changing.
And when we measure him against his performance at his peak, expecting that same Tiger to finally show up, we are ignoring father time. Which no human can do. Not even Tiger. Tiger of 2000 is gone for good. In his place, we have Tiger of 2013.
But for sure, there will be some tremendous golf for us to enjoy. Imagine the level of excitement when he gets paired up with Rory in some major this year, which I anticipate will happen because the tv ratings and ad revenue is just to lucrative to ignore. And I don't think they will both do an Abu Dhabi and miss the cut again.
I look forward to seeing what else Tiger can do. And not what he has yet to do. Because among the players still playing today, he has accomplished so much, the only person left to chase is himself and his own record.
Just like Sunday when he was walking back to the clubhouse for a win. Hit double bogey and bogey. And still collected par for the round. Along with the trophy.
But I'm just a chap with a keyboard and a humble opinion. What do I know? Lets hear what someone who was in the thick of the action, indeed hunting him for the lead, has to say.
''I don't know if anybody would have beaten him this week,'' said Nick Watney, who got within five shots of Woods when the tournament was still undecided until making three bogeys on his next five holes. ''He's definitely on his game.''
As Tiger finished 2012, this article had these prophetic words."I've already made the big changes," Woods said. "They're already in. It's the little tweaks here and there. That's where the old pattern still comes in every now and again, and just trying to get out of that. But I'm excited about my short game coming back. I'm chipping and putting well again."
How Woods builds into 2013 will be fascinating to watch. He turns 37 on Dec. 30, and he'll be reminded again that he hasn't won a major championship since 2008.
But for the first time since the start of the 2009 season, he will enter a golf calendar year without the doubts that have dogged him over the past 36 months, certainly without the injury concerns that hampered him.
"How Woods builds into 2013 will be fascinating to watch."