On Sunday afternoon around 2 p.m., I checked my phone to just get a feel for what was going on in the sports world. I was catching up on a few things that afternoon and hadn’t had a chance to check in.
I knew the PGA Championship was on and figured there would be nothing that would make me drop what I was doing to tune in … man was I wrong.
The headlines all regarded Tiger Woods and how he was in the pack. Once I saw that he was at 11-under and in the top-3, I knew it was time to turn the TV on.
I’ll admit, I’m not a Tiger Woods fan. I respect him for being arguably the best golfer of all time, certainly of my generation. I just think there are times that he is abrasive toward the media and fans, and once in awhile his on-course outbursts make him look a little silly.
For the first time in my life on Sunday though, I was a Tiger Woods fan.
Keeping personality out of it, how could you not be impressed by Tiger and what he has managed to put together this season? He overcame drug issues, family drama, and a string of injuries that put his career in jeopardy for the past few years and climbed back to being one of the top golfers in the world. He obviously still has a ways to go, but the fact that he was in it until the very end in the past two majors has definitely warmed me up to the idea of rooting for him.
An argument that you hear all the time is whether or not golf needs Tiger. Over the past few years whenever I heard the question, my answer was a firm no.
Golf has plenty of young stars and still has a handful of veterans that are marketable. Whether it is Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, among others, I always felt like there was enough talent and stars to put together a solid product.
Sunday’s PGA Championship rewound the clock about 15 years and reminded us of the electricity a Tiger Woods show could produce, and proved that golf is much better off with Tiger.
There weren’t just golf claps and tame cheering in the gallery … no … there was thunderous applause that you would see at an NFL game. The fans weren’t just there to drink and follow along, they were there to see a 42-year-old try to complete one of the best comeback stories in recent years. For the first time in about a decade, I was at the edge of my seat while watching golf.
Sure, Tiger wasn’t able to make the shots down the stretch and missed a nearly tournament-altering putt on the 14th hole. However, what he accomplished in the broad scope was still remarkable, and is a successful comeback story in of itself.
Tiger is finally back. After 10 years of borderline obscurity, the sport of golf has its biggest star of all time playing at a high level.
Of course, he’s 42, hasn’t won in 10 years, and is facing possibly the stiffest competition of his career. Still, there’s no denying how healthy and focused he looked Sunday, and that he regained that Tiger mystique that used to literally intimidate opponents like you only see in full contact sports.
Will I be a full-fledged Tiger fan moving forward? Yes and no.
I certainly want Tiger to win another major. It’s too good of a story to pass up on and I believe he has worked hard enough to truly deserve it. So, I will be a fan until he wins and I do believe that day will come.
However, I still am not fully converted. I don’t want to see him break or even tie Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors. I don’t want him to be considered decisively the greatest golfer of all time. Maybe I’m being stubborn, but I just can’t allow myself to get over some of my past complaints.
At the end of the day though, Tiger and his legacy are too special for the sport not to have. Golf deserves to have its biggest face back … and its biggest face deserves to complete his storied career on his terms and on top, right where he belongs.