Woods wows Australia to lead the field for the first time in a year
Whatever else Tiger Woods goes on to achieve in the remnants of this golfing year he can at least say he topped an overnight leaderboard in 2011.
The former world No 1 resumed his challenge for the Australian Open this morning having prised a one-shot advantage at the halfway point.
Of course, the cries of "he's back" have been heard before in the calamitous two years since his infidelities were exposed.
But there was something about the 35-year-old's five-under 67 whichgave that grand statement added validity. One shot in particular would have had the thousands at the Lakes in Sydney convinced they were witnessing the resurrection of a master.
It came on the penultimate hole of a round that took him to nine-under. On the 550-yard par-five eighth, he was faced with 275 yards from a hanging lie with the breeze stiffening into his face. His playing partner, the 23-year-old Aussie Jason Day, had taken on the putting surface but his ball dipped into a bunker. There were no such problems for Woods, who played a low three wood with a little right to left, bumping it into the heart of the green.
"I just stood there going 'Wow'," was Day's response.
"It was howling in my face and I had to start it into the bunker and just hammer it," said Woods. "And I did. It was the best shot I've hit so far. It felt good."
In truth, for that second, Tiger felt like the old Tiger again, even though he was to miss the eagle putt. The question was whether he could maintain the form. Since his status as an icon was smashed, Woods has threatened toregain it on several occasions but each time cracks have appeared in what was for so long sport's most most durable psyche.
He has to look back to last December, and his own tournament the Chevron World Challenge, for a time when he last topped the leaderboard at the end of a day's play.
"At Chevron I hit it with one shot," he said. "I hit basically a draw for the entire week. Right now I am able to move the ball both ways. I haven't been able to do that for a long time."
Day, who lies third, two shots behind Woods, was certainly impressed. "Tiger is playing great," he said. "He is hitting the ball very solid. Golf needs Tiger Woods."
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food