Sunday, June 03, 2012

Tiger, the way it used to be

What did you do Sunday afternoon when Tiger Woods holed it from San Quentin behind the 16th green at Muirfield Village for a birdie David Cooperfield couldn't explain?

Did you shout (I did)?

Did you high-five your dog?

Did you shake your head, call your wife and tell her watch this?

You did something because Tiger Woods, the one we saw again Sunday winning the Memorial, does things that make us react. He does things on the golf course that we remember.

In his prime, when he was painting the game like no one has before him, Woods astonished us. No one else has done that, at least not as consistently and spectacularly as Woods did for a decade or more. He gave us remember where you were moments.

The 215-yard 7-iron up the hill at No. 6 at Pebble Beach in the 2000 U.S. Open. The 6-iron from a fairway bunker over the water at the Canadian Open. The chip shot at No. 16 at Augusta National the last time he won the Masters.

Most great players have one of those moments. Tiger has them in an eight-piece place setting.

For the last two-plus years, all the talk has justifiably been about whether we'd get the Tiger Woods we knew back or if time and turmoil had taken him away forever. His win at Arnold Palmer's tournament in March validated his contention he could still win and, after a dreary stretch that included a second straight missed cut at the Wells Fargo Championship, Woods showed us Sunday what we once took for granted.

With Jack Nicklaus watching, he tied the Golden Bear for second on the all-time list with 73 PGA Tour victories. It was a nice bit of symmetry and it rekindled the thought that Tiger may still chase down Jack's record of 18 major championship victories.

He still needs four to tie, five to go where no one ever has. It's a huge ask, a Hall of Fame career still be built to get it done but Sunday reminded us why we used to think Tiger would make it happen. I'm guilty of saying and writing he would win 20 or more majors. If you didn't say it, you thought it because of how dominant he was.

It's different now but suddenly the U.S. Open at Olympic Club in two weeks has a familiar feel. A week ago, it was about Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald and now it's about Tiger going for No. 15.

It's nice to know the thrill isn't gone.


Anonymous said...

So whats your point idiot? Nobody cares.

jjw901 said...

It reminded me of the Tobey Keith song. "I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm good once as I ever was..."

Anonymous said...

I find it hilarious that you have trashed talked Tiger for 2 years and now that it seems he has the pieces put together, Back to the bandwagon! He has missed 8 cuts in his career, yet he is thrown out with the bath water everytime. Mickelson, Rory, Luke,etc.. miss cuts all the time and no mention. Tiger is the greatest golfer ever and it is time to eat crow and except it!

Anonymous said...

Trash Tiger for 2 years, now back to the bandwagon. Tiger is the greatest golfer ever and it is time to accept it. His off the course behavior is deplorable, but that has nothing to do with his discipline, skill and focus. What will you have to cry about now Ron? How Tiger is unfair to Phil by winning again? Newspaper columnists are jokes and thank goodness this industry is dying!