This past weekend was excellent for sports fans because of one person: Tiger Woods.
It’s been a long time, but Tiger Woods had a spectacular weekend. He lost by only two strokes to Brooks Koepka during the PGA Championship, getting second place.
This ‘moral victory’ has given Woods’ fans tremendous hope that he still has a promising future in the sports world.
After everything Woods has gone through over the last ten years (marriage scandal, DUI, multiple back surgeries, Achilles tendon tear, etc.), no one believed that he would ever be able to contend for another major, let alone win one.
Woods is 42, so he is way past his physical prime. Considering the way he played in his 20’s and early 30’s, his current status is a fair assumption of where he was tracked to be at this age ten years ago. Not the best, but among the best.
Tiger Woods has mellowed considerably in the last ten years. He is now more soft-spoken, appreciative, and he embraces both the media and fans. However, he has lost the killer instinct that made him so great. In turn, he appears to have lost his competitiveness.
But this weekend made one thing certain: there is still come of the old Tiger left. For the first time since 2008, fans can confidently state that Woods will win another major.
Woods finished with a 64 on Sunday, which was his lowest fourth-round score at any major tournament. He finished with a cumulative 130 over the weekend, which is the lowest Saturday and Sunday score (combined) at a major. It was also his first top-5 finish in a Major since the 2013 Masters.
The 42-year-old was in contention on Sunday for back-to-back majors, and fans didn’t know if they would ever get to see that again. Woods certainly wasn’t.
Woods came oh-so-close to winning this weekend. In the British Open, he was one lousy flop shot away from holding onto his lead and winning. On Sunday, he was two lips outs away from tying with Brooks Koepka, and one more ball rotation on the 11th from winning.
This all came after he started off the tournament +3 with his first two holes on Thursday. During the 2018 U.S. Open, Woods started off just as poorly, but he was not able to recover. This time, he was able to recover, which shows how far he’s come.
Tiger Woods demonstrated a fire which had not been seen from him for years. First off, the fist pump is back. He gave fans a little one on the 9th after making a birdie putt. Then on the 18th, fans got this:
Woods’ fire turned into something that seemed like will. Woods missed 9 of 14 fairways on the day and still shot -6. He missed all seven of his fairways on the front nine, and still just put ten times and shot -3. It wasn’t like those roughs were easy to hit out of, and only requiring 23 putts is remarkable.
This performance was reminiscent of Woods’ peak.
Woods didn’t lose this tournament in any way. He put himself in a great position to win, but Brooks Koepka was just a machine. However, Woods being so close to victory created an atmosphere that golf had not seen for years. The crowd’s roars were both nostalgic and chilling. Justin Thomas, the tournament’s defending champ, had this to say about the gallery:
“The roars were pretty unbelievable. I was fortunate to be making some of them for myself. A lot of them were for him, for Brooks (Koepka) and Adam (Scott). … This was the first real kind of a ‘Tiger Effect’ that I’ve experienced — that many people. The fans here were unbelievable all week, and it was fun to play in front of.”
Woods should now be a shoo-in for the Ryder Cup team. He’s only gotten better as the season has progressed. The superstar has been building himself up this year, like a runner preparing for a long-distance run. Remember, he missed 2014-2017 due to some serious injuries.
But Tiger Woods is tracking to win another major, and this win will most likely come sooner than later. He’s worked so hard to fight his way back to the top. Sports is about stories, and this may be the greatest comeback story ever. The Masters cannot come soon enough. Once Woods wins his 15th major, fans will finally be able to say with certainty that “Tiger is BACK.”
Featured Image via Google Images/eo.wikipedia.org