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Some thoughts on Tiger's return

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

More Golf: Leaderboard | Rankings | Schedule | Equipment | FedEx Cup | Tiger Woods

It's OK. You can admit it. This is a safe place.

You're stoked that Tiger Woods is returning for his first major of 2014. You're hoping he makes the cut so you can follow him Saturday and Sunday morning and you're excited about ESPN's Tigercam.

You're even considering setting that alarm for 4 a.m. on Thursday to see what he does.

And even if you say you aren't excited, you kind of are.

I know I am.

Tiger Woods walks the grounds at Hoylake. (Getty Images)
Tiger Woods walks the grounds at Hoylake. (Getty Images)

Tiger's return to Congressional was great, but you knew it would likely be futile and it wasn't as buzzy as it probably should have been.

This is different. This is a major and not just any major at any course but the scene of Tiger's 11th crime, back in 2006: The one that might have been the most emotional of them all after his father passed away.

So now that he has had a few more weeks of reps to get, as he calls them, "his feels," you start thinking, "well ... maybe ..."

That's what the man does to you. That's what his entire career has been built upon.

You can't help but think about it after what he did to Augusta in 1997 and Pebble Beach in 2000. He created a world within which -- with a hat tip to Kevin Garnett -- anything was possible.

Even winning the British Open after barely playing all season.

"Once I started getting stronger and more stable, I could work on my explosiveness and start getting my speed back," Woods said Tuesday. "Each and every week I've gotten stronger and faster. Probably not quite at the level that I think I can be at as far as my explosion through the golf ball, but I'm pretty, pretty darn close."

"Close" may or may not be good enough to win the tournament, but for Woods that's the only reasonable outcome.

And for you (us) it's the thing we've been starved of for six straight years. We have an insatiable desire to watch Woods hoist a trophy or a jug or, hell, put on a jacket.

As one of my golf pals pointed out Monday, Woods has not won a major in the Twitter Era. That's pretty crazy to think about.

Can Tiger Woods win his 15th major? (Getty Images)
Can Tiger Woods win his 15th major? (Getty Images)

When asked what would be an acceptable week, Woods did his usual song and dance.

"First," he said. "That's always the case."

It's also a lot more of a longshot than it has been in the past. And that's saying something for somebody who hasn't won a major since 2008.

He's not worried about the injury or rehab affecting him, however.

"I've proven I can do it. It's just a matter of putting my game and giving myself the best chances this week to miss the ball in the correct spots, to be aggressive when I can and obviously to hole putts. That's a recipe you find for every major championship, but I've just got to do it this week."

He has hope, too. Or maybe we have hope. Hope that he can rekindle some magic on these grounds where he stomped to victory in 2006 with his pops not far behind.

Tiger Woods needs to start winning majors quickly to catch Jack Nicklaus. (Getty Images)
Tiger Woods needs to start winning majors quickly to catch Jack Nicklaus. (Getty Images)

Of course, Woods isn't going to win the tournament, but I'm not even sure that's the point right now.

Maybe it's just the hope. The hope that he will, or can, is what we crave.

Hope is likely all we'll be left with at the end of the week, too. Hope that he can inch toward Jack Nicklaus at the PGA Championship down the road.

Tiger's back, though. This time we're talking about the adverb and not the noun.

And maybe that's all that matters.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

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