Woods's return to winning ways comes at the right time
So much for "The Big Miss".
After his first PGA Tour victory in 30 months, Tiger Woods is once again golf's big hit. His five-shot win at Bay Hill was his first proper Tour win since his career was turned upside down by revelations about his private life.
This victory came at the start of a week in which the book written by his former coach Hank Haney is published. "The Big Miss" is the most revealing account yet of Woods' life.
But the former world number one has spiked its guns with his dramatic return to winning ways. America loves a story of redemption and Woods has ensured that now the talk will be of his golf more than the revelations contained in Haney's book.
And the even more significant aspect of the timing of this victory is that it came in Woods' final outing before he challenges for a fifth Masters Green Jacket. He has sent a powerful message to the golfing world and to himself that he is back where he belongs at the top of the game.
Of course there are no guarantees. In 2009, as he unwittingly headed towards the car crash that prompted his private life being laid bare, Woods won in each of his last appearances before majors and on all four occasions failed to go on to add to his tally of grand slam titles.
Tiger Woods held off Graeme McDowell to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Photo: Getty
But walking the fairways with the newly installed world number six was a rare privilege last week. To see and hear the quality of his ball striking was to witness something very special.
From the tee he was imperious, relentlessly finding fairways and not sacrificing length in the process. From being one of the most erratic drivers on tour he has become one of the most reliable.
Woods's approach play was less spectacular. He found greens rather than pins, and it will need to be more precise at Augusta, but his putting grew progressively more reliable as the tournament went on.
Admittedly the top five players in the world skipped the Arnold Palmer Invitational but this was still a full-field event and the win is way more significant than his victory at his own limited-field event at the end of last year.
Woods will relish the fact that it is his golf rather than Haney's book that is the talking point heading towards the first major of the year.
He is entitled to feel that way because confidences were betrayed by his former coach in making so much of Woods's life public property. Haney admits that he knew Woods would be the last tour player he would teach and, by writing this book, he has ensured that will be the case.
It does not take away from the fact that the coach has composed a compelling read about a character who has never failed to fascinate the sporting public. For golf fans there are extraordinary insights into how Haney went about teaching the greatest golfing talent the game has ever known.
There are also anecdotes aplenty that portray a figure beset by social inadequacy. They are largely told within context which is something that was lost when advanced extracts of the book were published in various outlets.
Haney describes Woods's obsession with the military, his love of war-based video games and the tumultuous period in early 2010 when the 14-time major champion went into rehab for treatment for sex addiction.
But essentially it is a golf book and I suspect Woods will be more upset at the revealing of his trade secrets than anything else.
For me one of the most interesting revelations was when Haney detailed Woods reaction after winning for the first time under his tutelage. Haney notes that his player's then wife Elin said to her husband: "We have to celebrate. What should we do?"
Elin told Woods that in her time working as Jesper Parnevik's nanny there would always be a party to celebrate a victory for the Swede. Haney writes: 'Tiger slows down and looks at his wife. Gently but firmly he says, "E, that's not what we do. I'm not Jesper. We're supposed to win."'
I wonder whether Woods feels the same about his seventh Bay Hill victory? After all that has happened it was anything but a routine triumph and surely worthy of celebration somewhere in his still extraordinary private life.
Haney says that breaking Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 major victories is "now a tall order." He also says for it to happen Woods must win at least one major in 2012.
Having successfully shrugged off his latest Achilles tendon injury with eight rounds of golf in eight days, and capping that period with such an emphatic victory, Woods is entitled to feel winning more majors is firmly within his compass.
When he arrives at Augusta next week the 36-year-old knows the primary candidates he will have to beat. US Open champion Rory McIlroy and world number one Luke Donald head the list of those who have to be conquered.
All are in magnificent form which suggests the 2012 Masters will prove a vintage tournament. It has the potential to deliver a script more interesting than the one arriving on the bookshelves this week.