drdiags wrote:For awhile it was looking to me like he was going to go the route of David Duvall.
Duval is a pretty extreme example. There are very, very few athletes in any sport who fell as far off the proverbial cliff as he did. For some reason, Mark Prior is the first name that comes to my mind, although his peak wasn't as great as Duval's. Even at Tiger's worst, he was still in a tier of golfers like Steve Stricker, Nick Watney, Zach Johnson, etc, which might not be among the elite, but are still top 20ish.
Tiger doesn't need to win US Opens by 15 strokes to be considered "back", but I won't say he's truly back until he regains that fear factor in majors that he lost when YE Yang punked him out on Sunday at the 2009 PGA Championship. Maybe that's unfair, but Tiger has made his entire career about the majors, so that's really on him. In three of the four majors last year, he put himself in contention on Friday, and then faded on the weekend. When he was the best golfer in the world (I can't say unequivocally that he is right now, #1 in the OWGR or not), weekends at majors were when he was the most unstoppable.
My guess is that he wins one major this year; I'll say the British Open, and has two other major top 10s. There are only a few golfers I dislike enough to actually root for Tiger in a duel (Bubba Watson, Scott McCarron, and Spencer Levin might be the only ones), but I agree that the sport is more interesting when Tiger is great. If he can get his major mojo back, we could be in for some really fun tournaments between he and Rory McIlroy. I don't think it'll be long before Matteo Manassero and maybe Ryo Ishikawa are mentioned in that same breath as well.