A Win For The Ages

Name a sports venue more beautiful than Augusta National? There isn’t a sports venue more beautiful than Augusta National. Masters Sunday started earlier due to storms headed to Augusta. Groups of three tee-ed off and the leaderboard became any given Sunday.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog (and you should be), you know that Dustin Johnson is my favorite golfer. You’ll also know that my mom, my twin brother and I have never stopped rooting for Tiger. Even in our family golf bets for the majors, we root for Tiger when he’s not on our team. As for my dad, well, he’s team Mickelson so you know he has horrible taste and said Tiger would never win a major ever again.

Most of Tiger’s sponsors quit on Tiger while Tiger never quit on the game of golf. AT&T, Accenture, Gatorade and Gillette; think of marketing campaign you could do right now with your products and this comeback story we just witnessed.

Woody Paige, Steven A Smith, Jamele, Hill, Collin Cowherd, and all of those other sports know-it-alls who said no, no, no Tiger will never win again. They said his short game is gone, his health is gone, the next press release by Tiger should be “I’m retiring”, and have been calling him a former golfer for the last 5-6 years. These people make a living talking about sports and like most media, they focus on the headline and not the true story. Tiger Woods is one of the greatest golfers to ever play the game. He is one of the most competitive athletes ever in all of sports. Tiger will let us know when he is done, no one tells Tiger he’s done.

In November 2009 the infamous SUV that crashed into a tree outside of his Florida home and the media spiral of his personal life became exposed. Gatorade and major endorsements cut ties with Tiger. He spent 45 days in a clinic and did not return to golf until the 2010 Masters. The next eight years consist of four knee surgeries, four major back surgeries and an arrest in Florida for suspicion of a DUI and only one win in 2012 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. In 2018 Tiger flirted with comebacks as he finally returned to golf for what felt like more than one tournament appearance a year. He was named to the 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup team and he won the Tour Championship, his first victory in 1,876 days.

Amen Corner (the stretch of holes 11-13); where Masters dreams become nightmares. The current golf greats are much younger and can out-drive Tiger, but Tiger knows Augusta better than the grounds crew. Tiger knows the 12th tee is a game changer. Rae’s Creek is full golfer’s shots at winning the most coveted jacket in all of sports. Molinari’s ball is somewhere at the bottom of Rae’s Creek with a double bogey. Tiger made par and tied Molinari. This was the sports gods rooting for Tiger. Tiger stayed focused while intensely chewing gum. If you really want to know how Tiger is doing, just listen to the crowd. The gallery roar for Tiger is unlike any other golfer. With birdies on 13, 15 and 16, Augusta National belonged to Tiger.

For the first time in Tiger’s career, Tiger came from behind to win a major championship. Tiger’s Masters win was his fifth Masters victory and his 15th Major win. He is second to Jack Nicklaus’ 18 Major Championships.

Tiger hugging his son Charlie while CBS showed a flashback video to Tiger hugging his dad after his first win in 1997 at August National was a moment that got everyone’s allergies reaching for a tissue. Golf truly became full circle for Tiger and it was a win for the ages. You may not like Tiger because of some of his terrible personal decisions he made a decade ago. You may not like his focus on the course that makes him appear to be cold and arrogant off the course. But if you were not rooting for the greatest moment in sports history, you may not like sports.

Name a player who has had a bigger impact on their sport than Tiger Woods has had on the game of golf? No one! Name a comeback more special, with more triumph, and with more emotion that came full circle? You can’t! Tiger was ranked number #1 in world for 683 weeks and fell to 1,199 in the world just16 months ago. The fall from high to low is steep, full of injuries, surgeries, and more personal drama than the public needed to know. His battle was physical and mental on and off the golf course. But what makes his comeback so special was his fight for forgiveness, his fight for redemption, and his fight for his legacy.