Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

A Better Tiger Roars

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Holy moly macaroni, Batman!

You look away for the weekend and the next thing you know the last season of "Game of Thrones" has begin and Tiger Woods has won his fifth green jacket.

And this despite the fact that for a couple of hours yesterday morning millions around the globe couldn’t share their thrill and Tiger’s renaissance at Augusta National via Facebook because, well, for the third time in recent memory Facebook was busy making a triple bogey of its own.

If you’re not a golf fan, there’s no way to really explain how extraordinary the last few days were. If you play the game or love the game as I do, even more so.

I saw an article over the weekend that suggested the average handicapper of 15 (I’ve recently been playing to around a 10) would probably score around 95-100 at Augusta National, and that’s from the member’s tees.

The greens there are the stuff of nightmares, rolling almost as fast as an icy black diamond at Alta. It’s hard to hold an iron shot in the right place, much less a long downhill putt for birdie.

But, of course, most of these guys make it look easy (and none so more than Tiger). Certainly all the rain Augusta had made the greens more receptive he past few days, which is why we saw more and lower scores than usual, particularly on "moving day" (Saturday).

But that also made this year’s tournament so special, because the field was wide open. We saw early leads from the like of relative newcomers like Bryson DeChambeau and Corey Connors, and veterans like Francesco Molinari whose steely and consistent Italian nerves suggested he might be well on his way to his first green jacket.

And he was. He came into Sunday’s early round at 13 under, and Tiger at 11 under. They scrapped all the way until 12, the infamous par 3 where so many have faded under its magnolia klieg lights. Both Molinari and Tony Finau belted their tee shots into the water, probably one part mis-clubbing, one part misreading of the wind, and one part greed (they both wanted some of the far right pin action).

Tiger, ever the Augusta National expert and student of the game, knew better. He flopped what seemed to be a 1,000 foot shot into the air and dropped it into the middle of the green, knowing he could safely play for par while Molinari and Finau scrambled for bogey at best.

It turned out they both scored double bogey, giving Tiger the momentum he needed to move on to 13, tied for the lead, and prepared to become the Tiger of old, the one with the killer instinct, the one who, on 16, hit a gorgeous iron shot that rolled just below and right of the hole to take the lead at 14 under and never look back.

It had been 22 years since his breathtaking first victory at the ripe old age of 21. That was a Masters where he changed not only the game, but the actual golf course (Augusta National felt compelled to "Tiger proof" the course after that rout, making it longer and tougher than ever).

And yes, a lot has happened between now and then, to the world, to Tiger Woods. But that which doesn’t kill us…not only makes us stronger, but typically makes us better people.

I think that’s been the case with Tiger Woods. In 2005, I doubt there were many other golfers standing around waiting to congratulate Tiger as he came back into the clubhouse to sign his scorecard.

This year, I couldn’t count all his fellow players who were there to congratulate him on winning his fifth green jacket.To watch that moment, where he was recognized by his fellow players, many of whom would go on to play the game because of the inspiration he provided — that, to me, demonstrated the metamorphosis Woods had undergone.

He was once again a great golfer, yes, but through all his trials and tribulations had also become a better human being. And that was probably his biggest victory, on and off the course.

Written by turbotodd

April 15, 2019 at 9:52 am

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