By Seth Kerr
GolfWRX Staff Writer
Here we go again. At nearly every tournament Tiger Woods has played in this year we have thought he was back.
At Abu Dhabi, it was the first three rounds before Robert Rock took him down in the final round. Phil Mickelson dispatched him with ease in the final round at Pebble Beach after Woods played three solid rounds. And at the Honda Classic, Woods put together a pressure free final round 62 to finish in second place but could not take down Rory McIlroy.
The question is what will we remember him for at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard at Bay Hill. Will it be his second round tie for the lead with Charlie Wi at 10-under or something more? Because there have been plenty of Charlie Wis of the world leading after two rounds of a PGA Tour tournament. What matters is who is leading after the final putt on Sunday.
Woods shot an impressive bogey-free 65 after hitting a remarkable 17 of 18 greens in regulation. Woods birdied four straight holes from Nos. 4-7 and finished the round with 30 putts.
He will start the third round with Charlie Wi, who like Woods had a chance to win at Pebble Beach. Wi will be looking to erase his demons and close better than he did at Pebble Beach with the added carrot of playing in the Masters.
Another player looking to regain his form is Graeme McDowell. McDowell, who struggled most of last year, shot a second round 63 to get in contention, one back of the lead. McDowell played a solid, if not spectacular round of golf hitting 12 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens.
Jason Dufner is tied with McDowell in second place at 9-under. A solid player on Tour for a number of years, Dufner is still looking for his first win. He would be the first player since Paul Goydos to make Arnie’s tournament his first PGA Tour victory.
Ernie Els sits seven strokes back at 3-under par. Coming off the heartbreaking finish at Innisbrook last week, Els needs victory this week or next week at the Shell Houston Open to make the Masters on merit. You would hope a player like Els, who has done so much on and off the course for so many years, would be considered for an exemption to a tournament he has been a staple of for so many years.
But really the final two rounds come down to one thing. Is Tiger back or is he another player who puts together his best rounds when the pressure is off?