Coming off my disgruntled article last week where I had just heard the news that Tiger Woods would be withdrawing from the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a neck strain, I have since recovered and am excited to talk about this weeks tournament at The Players Championship.
With Woods, life is like an oscillating curve. There are several highs followed by even larger lows. When you hear he has an injury, you develop a pit in your stomach and you become nauseous. When you hear he has withdrawn from a tournament, you contemplate whether or not this will be the last time we see Woods out on a golf course. It comes with the price of being a Tiger Woods fanatic. It's part of what has drawn me, and so many others, to care for and follow his career with a fine pick comb.
This week Woods will be playing at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Verde, Flordia, a tournament he has won twice now and one that is considered the fifth major of the PGA tour. This venue is home to the iconic par-3 17th "island green," a 132-yard hole that has, as the name proclaims it, an island where the hole is located. Woods has experienced some magic here, but nothing stands out more than what he did in 2001 on his way to his first Players Championship victory. Needing to make birdie on this hole to stay in contention, Woods hit an improbable 60-foot putt from the back fringe of the green.
"Better than most...how about it...better than most!" Those words by commentator Bob Costas have been forever engrained in my memory when I look back on that highlight. It's unequivocally one of the greatest golfing moments and may stand near the top when considering the best plays in all of professional sports. It's memories like those that Woods has made at TPC Sawgrass that make me so excited for this weekend. We've seen what he is capable of doing here and hopefully, this week is no different.
In his pre-match media discussions today, Woods was asked if there are any particular analytics or statistics he cares about. In a poignant response, he said: "yeah, wins." Does this not fire you up? Do you not see the passion he has shown since he was a U.S. Amatur winner is still there. He's not done yet. Don't throw the towel in just yet. His neck is feeling fine and he is ready to play. Expect big things this weekend down in Ponte Verde.