A Second Life For Tiger Woods
We May Witness a Historic Revival at the Masters This Week
By Cam Giangrande
Christians around the world just celebrated Easter Sunday, which is of course the day Jesus rose from the dead after dying on the cross, three days earlier. For non-believers, it is a beautifully symbolic sign of spring when flowers begin to bloom, grass transforms from dingy brown to magnificent green, and leaves again engulf trees. It is life.
It is appropriate that at this time of year, golf celebrates its first Major of the season; The Masters. At Augusta National each spring; with the azaleas blooming, golf crowns its newest champion. It was the course that Bobby Jones built, Jack Nicklaus dominated, and Tiger Woods often tamed.
How fitting it is that this year’s Masters is being held a week after Easter; where the golf world may witness its own resurrection. Tiger Woods hasn’t won The Masters since 2005: he hasn’t won any tournament since 2013. In fact, Woods has missed the last two Masters due to injuries. The 42 year-old is seemingly on his own back nine, with the latter part of his career filled with personal struggles and physical ailments.
He’s endured four back surgeries as well as knee injuries and other physical issues which has derailed his quest to overtake all of Jack Nicklaus’ records. He currently sits four majors away from Nicklaus, who has 18 major victories. In fairness, Nicklaus won his final Major at the 1986 Masters, when he was 46 years old. A healthy Woods will play 16 more Majors between now and when he turns 46 years old…he still may do it.
Coming off of a couple of recent tournaments where he not only was able to finish, but competed and performed well, Woods is now entering The Masters as the favorite. This week may be one of the most intriguing in recent memory for the golf world. The sport has been begging for Woods to come back. Although the brand of golf has been fantastic, led by 24 year-old Jordan Spieth, the ratings have been abysmal. Golf, like every sport, needs generational personalities. Without Woods over the past few years, there has been a huge vacuum. An aging Arnold Palmer had a young Jack Nicklaus, an aging Nicklaus had a young Tom Watson, an aging Watson had Greg Norman, Nick Price, and Nick Faldo…and they had Woods and Mickelson.
The fall of Woods has cheated the golf world of the natural continuity of the young warrior dethroning the aging superstar, who graciously passes the torch over to the next generation. Hopefully this weekend will re-ignite some of those storylines. It will no doubt be a ratings bonanza, and truly compelling television. What will be better than to see 24 year-old Spieth with 42 year-old Woods paired together in the final group of the day, walking hole for hole, and hitting shot for shot, in an epic duel for golf supremacy. I have a feeling we’ll be watching something historic. This is why we watch sports.
When Tiger Woods won the Masters in 1997, he ate Arby's every day of that week.
The brand capitalizing on that story, told in Tiger's book published last year.
Here's the table at the Arby’s on 2733 Washington Road, across the street from the entrance to Augusta National. pic.twitter.com/yTk2vLiUbY
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) April 3, 2018
Spieth is this generation’s Tiger. At only 24 he’s already won three majors. Before Woods turned 25, he had already won five majors. Spieth doesn’t turn 25 until end of July…he’ll have a chance to match Woods with victories this weekend and at either the U.S. Open in June, or The Open in July. He’ll be ahead of Woods if he wins all three…which he’s capable of doing.
But this weekend isn’t about Spieth, or any other golfer not named Tiger Woods. This is about Tiger’s resurrection, his rebirth, and his redemption. Believe me; I’m not equating Tiger Woods with Jesus Christ, far from it. But, wasn’t it Christ who said, “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.” I’m not here to judge or praise Woods. I’m only here to point out that the golf world needs Tiger Woods. The sport was dying without him, and like him or not, it is far better with him in it.
The golf course has always been Woods’ cathedral, and just like preachers, he usually did his best work on Sundays. And if you watched Woods with any regularity, you’d swear you often witnessed truly miraculous things happen when he struck a golf ball.
We are a forgiving people, and have certainly forgiven others for doing far worse than what Woods has done. He’s far from the first man with prestige and money to cheat on his wife, and he won’t be the last. By all accounts, he’s never abused a woman, and he’s never cheated the game with performance enhancing drugs. He was always just better than everyone else through hard work and dedication.
One of the toughest things to do in sports and in life, is pick yourself up after you’ve been knocked down, and left for dead. One week, people can laud you and shower you with palms, and the next, they can crucify you. Tiger Woods has been buried for years now: in the court of public opinion, and in his own shroud of shame and humiliation.
It’s been long enough. The man seems to be healthy again. He seems to be hungry again. He seems to be ready to become the man his father always felt he’d be.
Sometimes in life, all it takes is time and perspective. I for one, am rooting for Tiger to win this weekend at Augusta. One thing is certain; if he’s winning on Sunday, the golf world will create such an ovation as he walks down the 18th fairway, that the noise will be able to be heard all the way to the heavens.
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