PGA Championship 2012: Win or lose, Tiger's 2012 has been a success
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PGA Championship 2012: Win or lose, Tiger’s 2012 has been a success

This week's PGA Championship is Tiger Woods' last shot at a major in 2012, but his season can already be considered a resounding success.

Look how far Woods has fallen and risen in the last three years.

In August 2009, Woods' career low-light was his defeat at the hands of Y.E. Yang for the 91st PGA Championship. On that Sunday at Hazeltine, little did anyone know that a mere three months later Woods would experience what rivals the Black Sox for the biggest scandal in professional sports history.

What has unfolded over the last 38 months has been cover exhaustively. At the peak - or the trough, depending on your view - the falling dominoes of Woods' personal life left more questions than answers about his professional future.

Then, he won again. When he took the Chevron World Challenge last December, it was somewhat dismissed because Woods hosted and beat a mere 17, albeit world-class, players. It seemed as though Tiger couldn't "win" even after he actually won a tournament.

Then, he won again. He notched a seventh Bay Hill title at the Arnold Palmer Invitational for his first official PGA Tour victory in nearly three years. Woods then won at The Memorial tournament to tie Jack Nicklaus' career PGA Tour win tally at his own tournament. Weeks later came a third win at his self-hosted AT&T Invitational.

After his best major finish since that '09 PGA with a T-3 at The Open Championship, Woods rose to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Rankings from a low of 58th.

With Woods' career seemingly reevaluated by the shot, is Tiger back?

Woods said so last week at Firestone, albeit with a caveat.

"Winning golf tournaments makes it successful, but winning a major makes it a great year," he said.

Tiger hasn't won a major this year, although he has improved with each successful attempt. He finished T-40 at the Masters. He led after two days of the U.S. Open before finishing T-21. Woods found himself in the second-to-last pairing on Sunday at The Open Championship and within striking distance of third-round leader Adam Scott. A slew of errant tee shots and missed opportunities with the putter, however, left him in a tie for third.

To make this year great, Woods has one last shot: the PGA Championship. The Tour-leading three wins, the recovery in the world rankings - all good. But Tiger strives for greatness. To achieve that in 2012, then, he has just one option: a victory this week at Kiawah Island.

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Adam Fonseca

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