THAT was Tiger Woods at his best. He was absolutely magnificent in winning the WGC Bridgestone Invitational by seven shots at Firestone at the weekend.
He carded a second round 61, having been nine under in 13 holes, then a composed final round with 16 pars sealed his fifth win of the year.
He was absolutely sensational in a field as good as you would find at any Major. That’s ominous form ahead of the US PGA Championship in Oak Hill, which tees off on Thursday.
I played at Oak Hill in the 1995 Ryder Cup and it is not an enormous course. So there will be no problems there for Woods who plots his way around like a chess master.
Three times – 2000, 2006 and 2007 – he has won the Bridgestone then the US PGA and I can’t see beyond him this week to win a first Major since 2008.
He’s been up there in all three Majors this year threatening to win and cap off a brilliant 2013, but ultimately fallen short. I don’t think it’s nerves it’s just not happening for him at the time.
He was well placed in the Masters and the Open but, at Muirfield, he had a bad finish to the third round which really cost him.
Rory McIlroy goes in as defending champion having won by eight shots 12 months ago, but at the moment he is in bits.
He’s an aggressive player and hits it hard and far. So when you’re slightly off that compounds mistakes.
He will have lots of highs and lows in his career. He just has to maintain the self-belief that he can play his way out of this period of form.
Time away from the course would do him no good at all. Class is forever, form is temporary and there is no doubt he is class.
Sweden’s Henrik Stenson finished tied second on Sunday with Keegan Bradley and has played great for a few weeks, he’s probably the closest challenger to Woods along with Phil Mickelson and the English contingent led by Justin Rose.
But Woods is not a good week, bad week type of player. When he’s on it, he’s out there on his own and he’s been phenomenal this year.
Sam Torrance OBE is a multiple Ryder Cup-winning golfer and media commentator. Follow him on twitter @torrancesam