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.
The United States led the Presidents Cup from start to finish, winning 19-15. The U.S., in nine appearances, now has a 7-1-1 record against the International team. The hideous/amazing mustaches of Geoff Ogilvy and Charl Schwartzel (who didn’t bust out his stache until the weekend…had to have been inspired by Ogilvy…or he just thought the stache was somehow going to land him one of the Australian women in the crowd) just couldn’t generate enough mojo to push them over the top.
Regardless of the win however, Tiger Woods is still the big news. He finished with a deceptive 2-3 record after winning the deciding match against Aaron Baddeley (who I for some reason generated some bitterness towards during the last four days…I think it had something to do with his continuously unkempt appearance…I digress…) Tiger’s ball-striking was about as good as we’ve seen in years. He struggled on the greens through his first few rounds and somehow was paired with guys that played the worst golf of the day each time they played with Tiger (Stricker in his first competitive round in months, and Dustin Johnson that just never got it going), but it was clear that his game is back. He hit 17 or 18 greens on Saturday, and looked like he couldn’t miss a green, fairway, or a putt on Sunday. I’ve never hidden my opinions about Tiger, and I won’t today….the dude will absolutely dominate the sport of golf again, and as long as he stays healthy, it’ll be far sooner rather than later. Hold on one second while I purchase my tickets for the Masters….
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.
I lost a little bit of respect for D. Wade when I found this picture, but I spend enough time praising him in this podcast that it should make up for it. Lebron James being the best player in the world for weeks at a time and then showing up and playing like C.J. Miles the next, T. Pryor and the mess in Columbus, Tiger Woods hurt instead of dominating majors, Rep. Weiner, and some movie catch-up….you’re not going to want to miss a thing.
Business, commerce, and obviously politics (Government shutdown on the way!) all seem to stop during the second week of April as The Masters takes center stage. My own flesh and blood, Stuart B. Anderson, talks about what The Masters experience is truly like from the fans’ perspective. Will Tiger Woods get in a fight with a spectator on the first tee? It’s more possible than you think.