Here's your moment of zen: Tiger Woods enters the ring on the 600-yard 17th hole, Sunday at Bellerive, the edges…
Here’s your moment of zen: Tiger Woods enters the ring on the 600-yard 17th hole, Sunday at Bellerive, the edges of the texbox that are embodied with photographers and fans and old guys officials in short-sleeved shirts, all drenched . St. Louis in August.
Everyone, Tiger included, knew that if he could find a miracle – an eagle birdiefinish – he still had a chance. A chance to win his first five-year tournament and his first major at the eleven. Now he had to use all his training to block these thoughts. Selfcoached this year (how old school) and looking to recreate his boyfriend for the game, Woods needed a smash-mouth run. But at the age of 42, his golf ball does not follow orders because it came back in the day. He hit a disc in the weed. It was over.
Then came the moment: Tigers red second turn on the left tee marker, stamped “PGA” in gold letters. That swing had heat.
And then you knew that Tiger was back. Not in the conventional sense. Tiger does not recover what he once had, not in any game category, in addition to the critical revealed at that moment. His intensity and desire are still there. Despite what Woods does during the next thirties or so, he will go down and turn.
Brooks Koepka is the Player of the Year, and there are no runners. But Tiger Woods, to borrow the TIME magazine’s sexist language from last year, is the man of the golfing year. You can almost let go of the golf course. The impact of tigers golfers on TV ratings is a fitting news story. What the Woods man did was in every way better. How inspiring.
There are now two remarkable golf stories starting on the side of a road. Ben Hogan’s life and times can not be heard without a long stop on February 2, 1949, the day when a Greyhound bus, who was driving disturbingly, crashed his head in Hogan’s Cadillac sedan with Hogan driving. What saved Hogan’s life was his dive over his wife, Valerie, and tried to protect her. A moment later, the steering column pointed to the rear seat of the driver’s seat. Hogan’s body was lacking. But he survived, and then he began.
You can not tell what Tiger did in 2018 from what happened on May 29, 2017, when the police found Woods asleep in his car at two in the morning on the side of a South Florida road. His black Mercedes sedan had two apartments. Woods drug abuse had left him completely inept. He could have killed someone that night, including himself. Had the officers driven home home instead of Palm Beach County Failure, there is nothing to say where Woods would be right now. Everything Woods has done since that night – outdoors and in – is impressive.
Given how he turned and where he hit it at Torrey Pines and the Riviera early in the year, I never imagined he finished a shot of first in Tampa in March or leading at the back nine on Sunday afternoon at Carnoustie in July or senior at the club house on Sunday evening at Bellerive, as he did for a brief glowing moment. Wood’s understanding of the game and his work ethics are certainly at Hogan level. And that’s just the technical side. There are also the gray things: his need to excel, his capacity for time travel.
His victory in the Tour Championship came on a serious golf course. Did you know the pitch he made from Bermuda roughly by a baked earthquake from over 17th green on the Baltic Sea? And what if it has to do the tracking photographer? High art and dry hands. He had to channel his 96 US Amateur win, plus one hundred others. Golf is always past and present, past and present. One could say that the East Lake Prize was his most remarkable ever given where he had been 16 months earlier.
The human ability for regeneration is surprising. Tiger Woods actually seems different now. You regularly heard that he used a variation of “grateful” this year. There was his hug for “Brooksy” in St. Louis. His praise for young Sam Burns on Honda. His handshake for the presidency capability. And that’s his public life.
Remove Tigers fame and wealth and talent, and he’s just another middle-aged lonely dad trying to raise two children. It must be the starting point for his privacy. Yes, his next stop was the awful Ryder Cup, but it will be a passing embarrassment for him. I guess the sticky Las Vegas pay-per-view show as well.
The next chapter of the Tiger Book may be his best. When Tiger won the 1997 Masters, I had a fantasy about what he could do for the game, when it comes to slamming the privet hedge around his first tee. But that did not happen much. Tiger was a golf god, independent and untouchable, until the beauty of the boyhood morphed into adult arrogance. But it was then.
Life did what life does, and now we know: He’s human. This is better.