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RED STORM RISING
DAMON HACK
April 02, 2012
Tiger Woods won his first Tour event in 30 months, dominating as he did in his prime and signaling that he may be the man to beat at the Masters
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April 02, 2012

Red Storm Rising

Tiger Woods won his first Tour event in 30 months, dominating as he did in his prime and signaling that he may be the man to beat at the Masters

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But let's be honest. Woods might not need to be in that state to win the Masters. He has only won four times at Augusta National. Even with nothing close to his A game, he tied for fourth there the last two years. So it was a bit of an understatement when he said on Sunday, "I understand how to play Augusta National. It's simply a matter of executing the game plan."

Whether it is a sustained comeback or a solitary flourish, Woods has fresh motivations for his golf. Daughter Sam, 4, and son Charlie, 3, are old enough to know what their father does for a living. That, on its own, inspires him. At the Honda Classic, at which Woods tied for second, Charlie watched from the gallery on Friday, Sam on Saturday. The following week at Doral, Woods stood on the practice range showing Jason Day video of Charlie's golf swing. The relationship between parent and child launched Woods's genius. Maybe it will happen again.

The Bay Hill trophy presentation was incomplete this year. Late in the day, Palmer, 82, was rushed to a hospital after a blood-pressure scare. Woods went on Twitter to send Palmer a get-well message and thank the fans of Orlando, Woods's home until he moved downstate to Jupiter Island last year.

The sky above Bay Hill was nearly dark when Woods was shuttled to the players' parking lot in a courtesy car. He popped the trunk on his black Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG and tossed in his golf shoes, trading them for a pair of sneakers. He turned his cap backward. He autographed a golf glove for a friend of LaCava's. He packed his dinner—two turkey sandwiches with lettuce and tomato, no mayo, and two Diet Cokes—for the ride to Jupiter.

"His win, not my win," Foley said. "I'm happy for him. It's good for golf. Those people running in the fairways and doing all that...."

Foley let the thought hang before disappearing into the near dark, carrying a beer in an Arnold Palmer paper cup. LaCava looked to find a late dinner. Alone again, Woods stepped on the gas and pointed his car south. Bay Hill was in his rear-view mirror. It's full speed ahead to the Masters.

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