Some of the best memories of my life are from when I was a kid and playing golf on a Sunday afternoon with my Dad. In my teen years, about 20-25 years ago I remember this young rising star who played golf differently than everyone else. He hit the ball farther, he dressed really cool, he threw imaginary uppercuts after a huge par save or a big time birdie, his short game was ridiculously good, he had the best Nike commercials and he didn’t look like the other guys on tour. He changed the face of the game, literally, he was quickly becoming my favorite athlete and that’s why I was so excited about the return of Tiger Woods this past weekend.
Like all great stories the hero must fail, he must let others down, there must be turmoil, there must be a glorious fall from grace and boy did Tiger Eldrick Woods fall from grace. He seemingly had everything, TONS of money, a gorgeous wife, two cute kids and he gained this perfect life by the ability to own his competitors. They knew if El Tigre was on his A game they were playing for second place. Rarely if ever do you bet on one golfer when a tournament starts. If someone said “Tiger Woods or the field”, in his prime it was easy to say “Tiger Woods” because you just knew he was going to beat everyone else.
Tiger Woods finished a four round golf tournament on Sunday and finished under par tying for 23rd at Torrey Pines. He didn’t go low but that’s no big deal right now, the big deal is his back held up for four competitive rounds of PGA level golf. He played out of rough and his back didn’t tighten up. We didn’t see on our news feed on Friday afternoon, “Tiger pulls out of….”. Now there is lots of work to do, he only hit 17 of 54 fairways which most Sunday hackers could do if given enough practice time. However, what I was most impressed with him was his attitude. For as much as I loved Tiger growing up I always felt like he was a robot, his personality lacked charisma. All the dude knew to do was to go dominate on the golf course. This Tiger Woods seemed comfortable with himself and was self-deprecating and funny in interviews. He seemed like a new man, perhaps a new hero ready to rise again this spring and summer.
This is why I’m so excited about Tiger 2.0. This is why I can’t wait to watch the Masters on Easter Sunday and the U.S. Open on Father’s Day. Golf might be worth watching again if that troublesome back doesn’t tighten up, here’s to hoping it doesn’t. The current set of big guns might finally get their shot at the golfer that all probably made them want to play golf. I don’t know if he’ll ever win major number 15 or catch the Mr. Nicklaus’ 18 but I can’t wait to watch him try.