Could this NFL season be any better? Honestly, what else could we ask for? We have witnessed the greatest offensive explosion in league history with transcendent play from three Hall of Fame quarterbacks while watching the rebirth of a storied franchise under the direction of what once was a “#1 Pick” bust and an up-and-coming coach (49ers) and one of the most exciting and divisive stories in the history of sports (Tim Tebow). My goodness. In addition to a full breakdown of past, present, and future NFL Playoff games, I also spend some time on the College National Championship game, Tim Tebow’s future, the current state of the NBA, and I certainly take a poke at the tackiness of Hank Haney’s upcoming book on Tiger Woods.
Tiger Woods won yesterday…in case you hadn’t heard yet. Already everyone is debating if it is a big deal or not. The tournament features a field of only 18 players, the victory doesn’t count as an official PGA victory, and the money earned doesn’t count toward the official PGA money list…and most say that the competition isn’t necessarily playing their best golf because it’s more of a casual, end of the year competition. Having said all that, why does this feel like a really big deal for Tiger Woods and for golf as a whole?
It has been two years since the greatest golfer of all-time (let’s just say it people…I could put an “arguably” in their or a “one of…” but let’s not try to over-analyze this one…Tiger’s the best of all-time and Jack is going to be 1A when it’s all said and done) won a tournament after the personal life scandal, the injuries, etc. We know the story. The guy has struggled for two full years now and many have questioned if he would ever regain his previous form again. We saw distinct signs of life these last few weeks, but we all kept wondering if he’d actually figure out how to WIN again. Although Sunday’s victory wasn’t the back nine at Augusta National with Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, and Phil Mickelson all in contention, we saw something from Eldrick Woods that we hadn’t seen in some time. He took control of a golf tournament late in the fourth round, and he won making back-to-back birdies while dueling with a really good player that showed no backing down.
Is Tiger back to his old self then? I don’t think we can honestly say that until we see him win that Masters (or another major) with McIlroy, Westwood, and Mickelson all lurking, but it is crystal clear (A Few Good Men reference) that we’re moving in that direction. And based on his post-72nd hole birdie reaction, this win might have meant as much to Tiger as any before.
Yeah, I said it. I think most people weren’t factoring in his injuries as much as they should have when analyzing his last two years. I also think that people forget how dominant he played right before “The Scandal”. I watched every stroke of the Frys.com Open as well as the Australian Open this weekend. He has steadily progressed since coming back from injury just a few months ago, and gave himself a chance to win this weekend, finishing at -11, two shots from the top. You will continue to see steady improvement, including this next weekend during the Presidents Cup where he absolutely shined just two years ago. If Tiger stays healthy, you’ll see that dominance return. Don’t be shocked if that first win comes at Augusta National next April.