Will “fit and happy” Woods rediscover on-course cheer?

January 25, 2012

The photos depict it, Rory McIlroy’s been saying it, now it’s up to the Abu Dhabi Golf Club to confirm that at long last, Tiger Woods is happy and fighting fit again.

That the 14-times major champion should choose the European Tour’s first big event of the season to make his 2012 debut in favour of one of his favourite courses at Torrey Pines in California is one thing.

Woods’ results at Torrey Pines have been astonishing — seven wins including his last major at the U.S. Open in 2008 — while his rare forays to the Middle East have been equally impressive, two Dubai Desert Classic wins in six attempts with only one finish outside the top five.

More noticeable however is the American’s demeanour, critics say his huge appearance fee in the UAE capital might have something to do with it, but surely money no longer lures Woods. He wants to start winning again.

Whether he can do that in Abu Dhabi, with the spotlight firmly on him and a quality field including the world’s top four players, remains to be seen.

Should he find the going tough perhaps we will see the same surly Woods stomp around the course, spitting freely and winning no fans with his attitude.

But again, just like the money, surely those days are behind him.

At 36, Woods has plenty of time on his side to try to overhaul Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors and perhaps now he will be more determined to just have fun on the course and let the good times, and putts, roll.

Picture: Tiger Woods (C) of the U.S., Rory McIlroy (2nd R) of Northern Ireland, and Lee Westwood (2nd L) of England pose during a photo call with a traditional Emirati Al-Ayala dance troupe at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship in the United Arab Emirates January 24, 2012.

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