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You could listen to Woods talk all day and not know what to believe. In his recent book, "The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods," Haney tells the story of how Woods often said one thing for public consumption after a round and then called the coach and laid out the things he felt a need to work on. They were rarely the same things.
Two things are not in dispute.
The first is that Woods knows how to play here, no matter which swing, or swings, he's wrestling with. He's won the Masters four times, never finished worse than 22nd as a professional and tied for fourth the last two years, the post-scandal phase of his career. The second is that golf is still a game played mostly between the ears and only Woods knows what's going on in that space. He's also the only one who knows which, if any, of the various personalities he's tried on in public since that fateful spin down the driveway of his Florida mansion in the early morning hours of Thanksgiving, 2009, is the real Woods.
The rest of us are left to try to divine that from the way Woods has played golf. The results have been middling at best, and the inconsistency suggests that just like this latest swing, Woods' psyche is still very much a work in progress. He was at his best when he was one of the most cold-blooded competitors on the planet, and we haven't seen that person since he dusted off Rocco Mediate in a playoff with one good leg to win the 2008 U.S. Open.
No one knows, perhaps not even Woods, whether that guy still exists. Barring a missed cut, all of us could have the chance to find out on the back nine on Sunday, when the kids who've never seen him in that mode and the contemporaries who wonder where that Woods went start throwing off birdies and wait to see how he replies.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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