When we say we miss the old Tiger Woods, we mean the young one. The young Tiger Woods who betrayed no Eldrick, who prowled about big golf courses eating them alive–an un-fickle carnivore too, swallowing courses whole whether they be links-style, azalea-strewn or high-end munis like Bethpage Black. This was back when people who didn’t care much for golf would watch the red shirt strut on Sundays, just because that was what was happening in the world. But the old Tiger, like Alice, doesn’t live here anymore. Now instead there’s “old” Tiger, who hasn’t won a major championship since before Lehman Bros. went down. But guess what? He thinks he’s got a chance this week at Royal Liverpool where he won in 2006–ate the place up in fact, under hard conditions, the old Tiger did.
The press asked Tiger his aims for the week. It’s a difficult question for him. He hasn’t played but two competitive rounds since his last surgery, so you might expect modest goals. The difficulty arises because Tiger Woods doesn’t believe in modest goals. “First,” was his reply. He wants to come in first, make a meal out of it. A lot has changed for Woods since his 2006 victory at Liverpool–for better and for worse. But here’s the change he’s happy about that many of his fans just can’t forgive: “I’ve got a completely different golf swing than I did in ’06,” he said this week. But the old one was so beautiful, Tiger. Can’t we see it again?