Yes, Tiger Woods will find his mojo again. He will return to No. 1 in the world rankings and rule over the game again.
Or . . .
No, forget it, Woods won’t rediscover the edge that made him so special. He has lost his swing and his magic, and he’ll never find them again.
History tells us Woods could go either way on this one.
If you believe Woods will rebound, here are five reasons to believe you may be right. If you’re expecting the worst, here are five reasons to believe you know best.
Here’s a look at five players who lost their edge but enjoyed a return to glory, and five players who lost it and never got it back . . . or haven’t so far:
FIVE REASONS WOODS WILL REBOUND:
BEN HOGAN: If Hogan could survive a head-on crash into a Greyhound bus, if he could rebound from a double fracture of his pelvis, a broken collarbone, a chipped rib and life-threatening blood clots and go on to win six more major championships, why can’t Woods find a way to rebound from his personal trauma?
DARREN CLARKE: Clarke fell off the golf map in a slump that saw him endure four winless years and sink to 143rd on the European Tour Order of Merit in 2007 while failing to record a single top-10 finish that year. It’s no coincidence Clarke’s troubles came with his wife, Heather, dying of cancer in ’06. Clarke put the pieces of his game together this year to win the British Open, his first major championship title.
LEE WESTWOOD: After cracking the top 10 in the world rankings in 1998, Westwood lost his swing. His game slumped and he spiraled out of the top 100 in the world and then the top 200, sinking as low as No. 264 before putting his game back together. Westwood took the No. 1 ranking from Woods late last year.
STEVE STRICKER: With three PGA Tour titles to his credit, Stricker lost his swing and his confidence, then lost his PGA Tour card in 2003. He completely overhauled his swing, rebuilt his confidence and has won seven PGA Tour titles in the last three seasons. He’s the highest ranked American in the world today.
JOHNNY MILLER: His career derailed by the putting yips, Miller found a way to overcome them and win the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in 1994, seven years after what most fans believed would be his last PGA Tour title. Yes, Miller’s return was brief, but he found his magic in a short burst nobody thought possible. He showed how great players can find ways to overcome great obstacles.
FIVE REASONS WOODS MAY NEVER FIND HIS MOJO AGAIN:
IAN BAKER-FINCH: After winning the British Open in 1991, Baker Finch’s powers left him. His slump was mysterious. He could look brilliant on the driving range and totally lost on the course. He never righted what was wrong with his swing or game.
SEVE BALLESTEROS: The winner of five major championships, Ballesteros’ game left him when his erratic driving became so short and crooked he began struggling to break 80. Back problems hindered his bid to find his winning form.
RALPH GULDAHL: A dominant player in his time, Guldahl won the U.S. Open in 1937 and ’38 and the Masters’ in ’39. He completely lost his swing after writing a book titled 'Groove Your Golf.' His wife and son claimed he lost his game overanalyzing his swing. Guldahl insisted he just lost the desire to win.
DAVID DUVAL: Winner of the British Open, No. 1 in the world rankings, Duval severely slumped with swing woes. Why Duval lost his game remains something of a mystery. Duval didn’t seem driven to remain atop the world after winning the British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in 2001. Lost desire seemed an issue. Back, wrist and shoulder problems also hindered him. So did vertigo. Duval continues to search for the magic that helped him shoot 59 once and become a rival to Tiger Woods.
CHIP BECK: Though Beck never won a major, he was a quality player, a four-time PGA Tour winner who played on three Ryder Cup teams, won the Vardon Trophy for low scoring average in ’88 and shot 59 in the third round of the Las Vegas Invitational. He inexplicably lost his swing and missed 46 consecutive cuts in the late ‘90s. Though he later found some success on the Champions Tour, Beck never regained his form on the PGA Tour and took to selling insurance.