LOS ANGELES, August 25- Tiger Woods will compete at the Barclays this week, an event which will not only help determine his stature in the PGA Tour playoffs but also his first competition in six years as a single man.Now that he has resolved his troubled marriage by signing the divorce papers with ex-wife Elin Nordegren, Woods’ focus is on breaking the downward spiral that has left his golf game in ruins.
Since his return to competitive golf four months ago at The Masters following a blistering sex scandal, Tiger Woods has not come close to winning a tournament.
Not only does he have his sights set on making headway in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs but he is also trying to earn his way onto the American Ryder Cup team.
Even if he makes the US Ryder Cup team there are some that think it could become a distraction especially since the wives and girlfriends of the seem to have taken on a bigger role in the social aspect of the event.
"Turning up at Celtic Manor could be one of the hardest things Tiger ever does," European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomery wrote in a newspaper column several months ago.
"He will worry about how the wives of the other players will react to him. Some of them will be friends with Elin and they will sympathize with her anger and pain. Some of them might find it hard to welcome Tiger back into the group."
Woods’ debacle at the Bridgestone Invitational earlier this month is still fresh in his mind. In what turned out to be the worst performance of his career, Woods finished second last in a tie for 78th. Woods, who had won the event seven times previously, shot 18 over par and finished an embarrassing 30 shots behind winner Hunter Mahan.
This week’s tournament in New Jersey will be his 10th this season. He hasn’t come close to winning the previous nine events this year with his best finishes being a tie for fourth at the US Open and The Masters.
He missed the cut at the Quail Hollow Championships and although he showed flashes of his old self at the PGA Championship’s this month, Woods failed to put four strong rounds together and could only muster a tie for 28th.
That’s far cry from what people are used to seeing from Woods. He has won 14 major championships, including a half dozen during the nearly six years of marriage to the former Swedish model.
His last victory was in Australia in November, two weeks before he smashed his car into a tree and a fire hydrant outside his luxury Florida home, sparking a series of scandalous revelations that he cheated on his wife with a multitude of different women including a porn star, a cocktail waitress and a Las Vegas club manager.
Woods tried unsuccessfully to save his marriage and court documents released Tuesday showed that golf and divorce proceedings have gone hand in hand.
The couple said in a statement through their lawyers Tuesday that they plan to "share parenting" and promised to work together for their children’s happiness.
As part of the divorce proceedings they both were ordered to take parenting classes.
Less than 24 hours before he flew off to play in the British Open, Woods completed a four-hour course in parenting and was awarded a diploma by the American Safety Institute.
The two-time British Open winner finished in a tie for 23rd, 13 strokes behind the winner Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa.
Nordegren completed her four-hour parenting programme eight days ago and one day after Woods finished out of the running at the PGA Championship.
On July 4, Woods and Nordegren signed their marital settlement papers. It was the same weekend Woods took part in the AT and T National where he failed to break par in a USPGA Tour event for the first time in over a decade.
All this of course is bad news for Woods’ legacy and the sport which is struggling to maintain sponsorship and hold onto marketing deals in a poor economy.
The players, while saying they eventually want to see the old Woods’ back, say there might be a silver lining in all this.
"There’s a lot of different guys that’s won this year, and there’s only a few multiple winners," golfer Dustin Johnson said Tuesday at The Barclays. "And so there’s a lot of guys that have played solid all year."