By WC Peters
One lasting memories of mine in the early 2000’s was the crowd roars, fist pumps, and the redshirt on Sundays at PGA events around the country. In the early 2000’s, Tiger Woods was experiencing the most dominant run of any athlete of all time. He won 79 events on the PGA tour in his career and 14 major championships, starting with winning the Masters in 1997 by 12 strokes. Soon after that, he became the face of golf and the face of the Golf arm of Nike by signing a contract worth $100 million. He led Nike from a “start-up” golf company to the leader in golf apparel sales. Then his career and life took a turn for the worse.
On November 27, 2009, at 2:30am Tiger collided with a tree and a fire hydrant while driving his Cadillac Escalade. Then his life spiraled out of control with admitted affairs with multiple women and finally ending in a divorce from his wife Elin Nordegren. Tiger took a hiatus from golf from December 2009 until the Masters in April of 2010. From then on, Tiger suffered injury after injury to his ever-aging body that limited his ability to compete and play well in events. Then he got healthy, mentally and physically, had fusion surgery on his back and is now playing at a high level again. In fact, as of this writing, he is sitting tied for second place one shot off the lead at the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook. One thing to watch for is how well Tiger bounces back at next week’s event at Bay Hill. It will be the first time he will play in back to back events this year.
It’s going to be awesome watching Tiger compete for the Majors against a rejuvenated Phil Mickelson, world number one Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, and a host of others that are atop the leader board every week. The toughest ticket in town will be for Masters weekend, especially if Tiger and one of the other young studs are in the last group on Sunday. Most of the young guys are too young to remember when Tiger was in his heyday, and it will be interesting to see how they handle the huge throngs of people that follow him on the golf course. When Tiger was dominating the sport of golf, he was hitting the ball farther than anyone else on tour. Now he will routinely get out driven by the guys he is playing against. How he deals with this is going to be telling. Also, when he was winning his Iron play and putting were second to none. He will need both of those to win against the impressive field at the Masters.
I am all in on team Tiger. I’m glad he is back and it’s obvious he is great for the game of golf. I for one would love to see the game grow, and it will have a great chance to this summer. The summertime needs a great sports story line, and Tiger can provide that if he is competing in every major!