Let’s be clear: On most days, I consider myself a casual golf fan. But when Tiger Woods is on my TV, well, I’m hardcore. Whatever I’m doing, I don’t care if it’s laundry, dishes, etc., I’ll drop it all in a heartbeat to watch Tiger do his thing. One does not simply pass up an opportunity to witness greatness.
And that’s exactly what he saw on Masters Sunday as Tiger completed one of the most improbable comebacks in sports history, winning his fifth Green Jacket and his first major championship in 11 years. Few expected Tiger to rise above his downfall to contend for majors again, let alone win them.
But there he was last Sunday, once again, inside Butler Cabin. “Yeah buddy, it fits,” he said as last year’s champion, Patrick Reed, slipped the jacket over his red mock turtleneck. It was a special moment, but really it pales in comparison to the hug Tiger shared with his son, Charlie, after sinking the jacket-clinching putt on the 18th hole. Twenty-two years ago, Tiger hugged his late father, Earl, at the same exact spot.
I would call it the perfect ending, but truth is, Tiger’s nowhere near done, especially with Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships within reach. I’m not a betting man, but Tiger is in great position to win four more and surpass Nicklaus. Keep in mind, Jack won his 18th at the age of 46-years-old, and Tiger is only 43 right now. With modern advancements in health and fitness, Tiger could very well play past 50.
All I know is, at this very moment, I don’t see any signs of Tiger slowing down. I know he sometimes struggled off the tee at Augusta, but a win is a win. The victory moved him up six spots to No. 6 in the Official World Golf Ranking, but how do you not consider him the best golfer on the planet right now? I will admit I’m a bit biased, though.
I can’t quite pinpoint when and how I became a Tiger fan, but here I am. That’s why he’s so important to the game, because gets people like me to tune in and eventually develop a real interest in the sport. After watching Sunday’s action, I had pretty much convinced myself to go shopping for a set of clubs sometime in the next week. That idea did eventually get pushed to the back of my priorities list late Monday night as I got my first speeding ticket since the 10th grade, but you get the picture.
It doesn’t take an expert’s opinion to realize golf is in a great place right now. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same thing about my wallet.