For the last week now I have tried to process the events that transpired in the world of golf. As many of you may know by now, I am a fanatic for Tiger Woods. I have watched as one of the greatest athletes to ever grace this earth fell from his pinnacle. I have watched as he and his family were brutally subject to a national embarrassment. I have watched as one of the greatest athletic bodies in all of golf was twisted and contorted through 4 back surgeries and physical rehabilitation. I have watched as critics and fans alike believed that his professional career was over. That he would no longer be a competitive golfer and that he should just retire instead of trying to recreate something that had gone awry.
Today I can say with the utmost of certainty that this is no longer the case. Tiger Woods won the 2019 Masters last week in dramatic fashion. Here are the stats plain and simple. Woods had never won a major tournament after trailing entering the last day of competition. Woods had also not won a major in more than 11 years and his most recent Master's victory was in 2005. Last week, Woods entered Sunday just two strokes behind the leader Francesco Molinari. At the end of the day, Woods won the event.
I have stood by this man's side as a loyal fan for the last 11 years and seen all that he has endured. For me, his victory was unequivocally the greatest moment in all of the sports. Period. There really aren't enough words for me to sum up the magnitude of this event and in the fashion that it took place. I still am speechless a week later. As I sat watching the final round unfold from a live stream on my phone (as I was in a car driving back from Florida), I was in actual tears. I knew that Tiger Woods would be a winner again. What I didn't know is that he was destined to return back to his place in history as the greatest golfer to ever live. The race for Jack Nicklaus 18 major championship victories mark is now back in contention - something that has not been highly considered for the last decade. What Tiger Woods did on Sunday at the Masters is greater than the sport of golf. It goes beyond athletics and winning. It demonstrates the story of grit, relentless toughness in the face of adversity and most importantly, it epitomizes never giving up.
For this current generation of young golfers who grew up idolizing Woods, they saw and heard first hand the return of the roars that followed Tiger every time he stepped onto a golf course. For runner up's Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele, they were not mad that they had lost, rather they were happy that Woods had won. They both said in their post-round interviews that the atmosphere and energy that was felt at this tourney was unrivaled to any other sporting event they had played in. It was because of one man, wearing his notorious "Sunday red" as he remained unflappable in the face of his opposition. On the 12th hole, a short par-3 that faces the infamous Rae's Creek, Woods demonstrated his poise and maturity. 5 of the top 6 players in the field hit the ball well short of the hole and landed in the water. The only player not to do so was Tiger who chose to aim well left of the hole and play for par. It was here, with 6 holes left to play that Woods reclaimed the lead. Fans and players were all aware of what was to transpire, they could feel that Tiger was ready to pound.
For me, Tiger Woods' victory will be a moment in my life that I will never forget. More importantly, he unified an entire nation to sit down glued to their televisions and watch the final round play out. I had friends reaching out to me to let me know that they were tuned in to witness history unfold, people who aren't golf fans in the slightest. This demonstrates in the most minimal way possible the magnitude and importance of this win. It was bigger than golf. It was something that young fans and old ones alike will cherish indefinitely. For that, I thank you Tiger Woods. You made all of the moments where we as sports fans wanted to let you go and move on to this new era of talented golfers worth sticking by your side. You brought a country with such polarization and difference together to watch a round of golf. And lastly, you made a fan of yours believe in something bigger than sports, but rather, believe in comebacks and hope. Tiger Woods you will always be my hero.