Tiger Tracks - A Tale of Two Seasons

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Tiger Woods left us with a lifetime of conversation in 2000.
 
For nearly every tournament won there was a singular shot that stamped victory.
 
Mercedes Championships
A 40-foot birdie putt ' complete with back-pedaling fist pump ' on the 2nd extra hole to defeat Ernie Els for his fifth straight PGA Tour title.
 
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
Next start. A 97-yard hole-out on the 15th hole Monday to punctuate a seven-shot comeback at the expense of Matt Gogel. Another shot worthy of an air-splitting uppercut.
 
U.S. Open Championship
Friday, a 7-iron, 202 yards from the rough at No. 6. A furious lash. The ball rises, climbs a cypress tree, covers the ocean and lands 15 feet from the hole. He two-putts for birdie, takes a two-shot lead and never looks back.
 
British Open
A 3-wood from 262 yards Saturday on No. 14 at St. Andrews. The ball never leaves its target, rolls up perfectly to 45 feet. It looks like just another mighty swing. He calls it his best of the year.
 
PGA Championship
First playoff hole. He putts. He points. He pierces the hole. The image is forever cemented in highlight history.
 
WGC-NEC Invitational
72nd hole. Darkness. You hear the swing. He must like it, hes staring. Wheres the ball? It lands a foot from the hole. Crowd erupts.
 
Bell Canadian Open
Caution be damned. A 6-iron from 218 yards. Out of a bunker. Over the water. Dead on the flag. Tiger wins No. 9 in 2000.
 
As Woods prepares to defend his title in Canada, we find theres quite a bit of difference between this season and last. One major championship compared to three. Five PGA Tour wins to eight.
 
But the biggest difference isnt on paper, but in the mind.
 
Its the imagery - when a mere mention of the tournament revives the moment.
 
Tiger hasnt reproduced his 2000 theatrics. Aside from a 7-iron hole-out en route to winning the Deutsche-Bank SAP Open in Germany, most of his 2001 triumphs ' on the PGA Tour ' cant be associated with individual moments of greatness.
 
Bay Hill Invitational
Woods holds off a late charging Phil Mickelson by birdieing the final hole. Yet it's Mickelson's miraculous approach shot on 18 that first comes to mind.
 
The Players Championship
Perhaps the lone exception this year. His 60-foot downhill, double-breaking birdie putt at the 17th Saturday is as vivid now as when it actually occurred.
 
Masters Tournament
Not a shot, but a moment. Realizing he has completed the Grand Slam (or whatever you want to call it) Woods holds his cap in front of his face to hide his tears.
 
Memorial Tournament
A handful of impressive strokes on Sunday, but nothing that earmarked an eight-shot victory.
 
WGC-NEC Invitational
Another stuffed shot on 18 to end the tournament. But this time, far less illuminating. A trio of missed putts and a hole-out bunker shot ' all by Jim Furyk ' stand out the most in a seven-hole playoff.
 
This isnt to criticize. What Tiger has accomplished thus far this season is nonetheless impressive. Its just not as bodacious.
 
Earl Woods once said that every tournament his son won would be defined by at least one shot. One shot that would forever be remembered.
 
As it is ' not every tournament. Most tournaments. But not every tournament.