Calling It Like I See It: Tiger Woods is back

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Calling It Like I See It: Tiger Woods is back

Courtesy Photo/Creative Commons

Courtesy Photo/Creative Commons

Courtesy Photo/Creative Commons

Sam Woiteshek, Sports editor

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Let me tell you a story.

A story about dominance, failure and triumph. A story of an athlete of firsts and athlete of lasts. A story about a true sports legend.

Too revealing? Perhaps a more well-known title to this incredible narrative would be better. How about this:

The story of Tiger Woods.

He was a child prodigy, a future star in training. His dad, Earl, pushed him endlessly, molding Tiger into the golfer he wanted him to be. As a result, Tiger won three U.S. Junior Amateur championships and became the youngest winner of the U.S. Amateur championship.

But he didn’t stop there. In 1997, Woods shot a 18-under to win the Masters, becoming the youngest to win the event. After that, Tiger only broke more records, won a Grand Slam and is currently four major titles behind Jack Nicklaus.

Sounds, pretty good doesn’t it? Woods had it all: the money, the fame and his unequivocal athleticism.

Until he didn’t. The man who was seemingly invincible all of sudden wasn’t.

In 2009, Woods was caught committing acts of infidelity. Soon after, he crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant and lacerated his face. He also lost sponsorships, but everyone assumed that by the following April he’d be fine.

Until he wasn’t. Tiger couldn’t win anything; he fired his caddie and swing coach and repeatedly pulled out of tournaments because of injury.

He finally broke through in 2012 and then scrambled for a win in 2013. He’s back, isn’t he?

Not so fast. 2014 and 2015 brought back surgeries and lousy play. The cycle continued into 2016 and Woods missed all of 2017. Oh yeah, somewhere in the latter year he received a DUI for being asleep at the wheel.

Asleep. At. The. Wheel. Prescription drugs. Folks, Tiger Woods had hit rock bottom.

However our story can’t end like that, can it? Surely there’s more, right?

Yes. Because the great thing about hitting rock bottom is the realization that there’s nowhere to go but up.

In 2018, Woods started rough. He was never in it at The Masters and missed the cut at the U.S. Open. We sports fans thought this was just the latest underwhelming year to Woods’ career.

But hang on, this where the story gets better.

Woods shot a measly even-par the first two weeks of the Open, but then made a charge on Saturday to be in the hunt on Sunday. In the final round, he had a share of the lead before giving it away. He’s back now, right?

Possibly. After that tournament, he regressed to his old form, making sloppy mistakes with club selection and putting.

However, in the PGA Championship, the world watched “Tiger Woods. The real one, the classic version that would relentlessly pursue title after title. Woods’ driving, iron game and putting all synchronized to shoot an 8-under round.

For some, it was a glimpse back to the early 2000’s when a single athlete had complete control of his sport. For others who had never truly witnessed Tiger at his finest, like me, it was a breathtaking sight.

And sure enough, Woods would soon win the 2018 Tour Championship, the last tournament of the year, re-establishing himself as one of golf’s titans. A nice little bow to wrap up the year.

Hold up for a minute though – Tiger will never become “Tiger Woods” again, where he can crush others en route to a championship. He will, however, win a major again, it just might not be in his signature fashion.

This Thanksgiving weekend, Tiger is challenging Phil Mickelson to a one-on-one match. If you have a little time, I’d suggest you watch it.

Why? Because ladies and gentlemen, Tiger Woods is back.

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