The Roar of the Crowd

Tiger Woods Wins the 2019 Masters Tournament at Augusta National!

Who would have thought those words would have been said ever again? I am a HUGE Tiger fan. I remember sitting on my best friends couch as we grew up dozing off from holes 5-8, and then waking up for the late Sunday charge of Tiger in his victory red polo. It was something remarkable to watch. Professional golfers choking left and right. Plunking trees, dunking cannonballs into the water, three putting late, or even having to pull a Kevin Na and take forever hitting your golf ball just trying to compose yourself with the presence of greatness in your midst.

Everyone knows the whole saga that started back in November of 2009. We won’t enter into that realm because it was a decade ago. But, the one thing I will address is the sole fact that even though he was a “god” so to speak, to many people, that does not excuse him for his actions. I told my mom the other day, who is a above average sports fan, that “no one has forgotten what he had done in his personal life, but they have most likely forgiven him for his struggles.”

A man on top of the world with money, fame, stardom etc., comes tumbling down a never ending hill. When have we EVER seen someone of his caliber crash and burn in that magnitude? I think most of us can agree after his downfall, we saw the pain he went through to try and come back to golf. This includes, four total back surgeries, recording his worst ever score as a professional (85) in 2015, pain medication problems with an arrest on an alleged DUI etc. Too many things to count in a 10 year span. But this is going to be a positive outlook on what just transpired in Georgia this past weekend.

Seeing Tiger in contention is one thing. But seeing him in the final pairing on a Sunday in Golf’s “Super Bowl” was a completely different viewpoint. Making a charge on any other day than Sunday is fun to watch. But making a charge on Sunday, the final round, counting down the holes, is nerve racking. You can compare Sunday golf at a major championship to Game 7’s in almost any playoff of the four major sports. You have one single day, one game (or round) to make your move and claim the hardware.

Fast forward to his back nine holes. He started off the back nine scoring bogey and moving two back of Francesco Molinari of Italy. Meanwhile, no one really understands that at that point, there were seven golfers within three shots of the lead. With Molinari’s consistency, I was a bit worried at this point. On 11, Tiger found his shot in the trees but got a break with a nice angle to the green and made par. Still two back of Molinari.

Then this is where it got interesting. Molinari started to falter when he splashed his tee shot at the Par 3. At this point in the tournament with a two shot lead and seven holes to play, you can’t open the door for others. Everyone else has to make the move, so seeing Molinari go for the pin instead of playing it safe for the par, was baffling to me. Woods saw this, made par and tied for the lead. (Check out Francesco’s shot below)

Xander Schauffele made his move in the middle of the back nine tying Tiger and Francesco through 13 & 14. Then the Italian started to sink once more at the 15th hitting a tree branch, dunking the ball again losing more ground. Tiger birdied the Par 5 taking the outright lead with three holes to play. With Schauffele not going away, Tiger needed that inner focus we were used to seeing crossing into the millennium. And on the 16th tee box, we got re-introduced to the “old” Tiger Woods.

With a birdie at 16, that all but put the nail in the coffin for Tigers return to greatness. You have to believe that this will probably not be the Tiger of old, where he runs away with tournaments. But, golf just became relevant again with him in the mix. Watch out sports fans…..He’s Back!

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