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The Return

“Skeptics insist that golf is merely taking a natural dip after a once in a lifetime phenomenon. It’s no secret that golf’s heyday coincided with Tiger Wood’s rise and his 14 major championships. He is also to blame for those thousands of Craigslist ads for used clubs. But after the infidelity scandals and loads of injuries, fewer people are watching golf on TV, buying golf gear in stores, and actually going out and playing. Truth be told. The game not only lost its best player, but it’s leading ambassador is now sadly gone.” Sporting Matters ~ Webb Weekly.

I wrote this short piece late last summer. I feared my favorite sport was declining. I was sitting in a busy airport looking at an empty PGA GOLF STORE. Everything changed because of one individual who I thought was done.

So it had been 1,876 days since Woods last won a PGA Tour event. The streak came to an end when he tapped in for par on the 18th to capture the Tour Championship. Tiger did the unthinkable by outplaying and outlasting the top 30 golfers in the season finale. Incredible.

This was Woods’ 80th career victory, leaving him just two shy of Sam Snead’s all-time record. But his recent triumph meant so much more. Many of us believed he was out. I was one of those doubters and didn’t think Tiger had a prayer. He defied the odds and really started playing some impressive golf this summer. I knew he was close, and it was a joy seeing on Sundays. But winning what is considered the fifth major against a field of world’s very best? No way man.

Tiger has overcome several years of embarrassment that have plagued him like a virus. He was on the front cover of every tabloid, and his messy breakup was well in the public spotlight. And just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse. We spotted an incoherent Tiger doped up on pain meds in 2017. Officers found him sleeping at the wheel in his running car just a few blocks away from home. The world’s former number one was an absolute train wreck. Just to sum it up — Tiger was ranked 1,145 to start the 2018 campaign.

Tiger has nearly missed the past two seasons with severe back pains that have required four surgeries. He has often said that he had trouble walking over that clip.

You could make the argument that Tiger’s comeback is far more psychological- not to downplay how debilitating his back issues were. Golf is such a mental game, and I can’t explain how difficult it is to get that back. Not only to swing and compete but to win on the ultimate stage.

Whether you embrace what he’s done for the game or perhaps you will never forgive him for his sins off the golf course, it’s difficult to find any argument against this being one of the more remarkable comebacks in golf history. Make that sports history.

The scene last Sunday was incredible. Security did their very best to keep the thousands of fans on the 18th hole. Tiger spent all summer showing flashes of his old self. But He was never able to put it all together for four consecutive rounds. Then came the British Open, where he found himself in the lead on the back nine.

Tiger was also in contention at the PGA Championship, and it actually looked like Woods might finally break through. Tournament after tournament- Woods was left to answer questions about why he wasn’t winning, and he kept saying he was close. I didn’t think it was possible and he started sounding like a broken record. I still can’t believe he won last week. Congratulations Mr. Woods. The game of golf missed you.

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