2012 U.S. Open: Jury Still Out If Tiger Woods Is 'Back'

It's a question you've heard plenty of times in the past 72 hours, and a question you'll hear at least 72 more times until the first golfers tee-off next Thursday at The Olympic Club.

Fair or not, asking if Tiger Woods is "back" will be what fuels the attention and TV viewership for the 2012 U.S. Open.

With two PGA Tour victories this season, including last week's dramatic victory at the Memorial, it's an easy angle to play; not only because it may be true, but also because we're all so desperate for the Tiger Woods of old.

On Woods' chances next weekend, CBSSports.com's Steve Elling doesn't quite see it that way:

It's harder to handicap than ever before, really. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Five years ago, Woods was winning around 1½ majors a year on average. Now nobody can be sure whether he'll even make the weekend.

In March, Woods won at Bay Hill to snap a 30-month victory drought in official PGA Tour play, and took a huge header as the favorite at the Masters. In three consecutive events, he finished T40 or worse, as bad as any stretch of his career.

Depending on where you look, Woods is either this 2012 U.S. Open favorite, or right atop the list. He's a legitimate contender but, until he wins his 15th major tournament, it's probably not a safe bet to say that one of the most dominate golfers the sport has ever seen is back to his pre-2009 form.


For all your news and updates in the run up to the 2012 U.S. Open at Olympic, visit SB Nation's dedicated golf hub. Be sure to head over to USOpen.com for even more coverage from the event.

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