Golf

Ten Years After – Eldrick The Great

Ten Years After – Eldrick The Great

It will be ten years this Saturday when Tiger Woods won his last major title,
The U.S. Open in San Diego. He was 32 years old. It’s been a decade.
A freaking decade,

Vintage Tiger treated the PGA Tour like Godzilla did Tokyo, he
destroyed everyone and everything in his wake.
He was Eldrick The Great. Lord of the Links.
Conqueror of the Course. Guru of the Greens.

Fast forward ten years and Tiger has been reduced to mere mortal status.
Incredibly, he’s still stuck on 14 majors. The same number when he beat Rocco
Mediate in that amazing playoff in 2008 at Torrey Pines. Just about everybody
who seriously follows golf thought Tiger would have jetted by Jack’s records
and had around 25 majors and 100 Tour victories by now.

Instead, the number is 1479. Fourteen majors. Seventy nine PGA Tour wins. Four short
of Nicklaus for majors. Three short of Sam Snead for career Tour wins.

Now the number 1479 seems so ominous.

That’s probably the year when the golf
god’s predetermined that Tiger would burst on the scene as the greatest star
in the golf galaxy, only to be derailed by injuries and personal demons that would’ve
seemed ridiculous in a Shakespearean tragedy.

However, the story isn’t over. The final chapters have yet to be written.

The Big Cat is back healthy. The back fusion worked (so far). Tiger is hitting it
out there with the biggest hitters on Tour. Iron play has been solid. Short game
has been exceptional, save for a few hiccups, like the pathetic putting
display at the Memorial.

In other words, Tiger is playing well enough to win.

The biggest hurdle is going to be closing the deal when he has a chance to win.
Woods has been in real winning contention a few times this season and looked shaky
at best. Old Tiger KNEW he was going to win in those situations, 2018 Tiger isn’t sure
he can.

Big difference.

One big breakthrough victory could change that and unleash the beast again.

It’s still amazing that this version of Tiger Woods, like an old Mercedes with
200,000 miles on it, moves the TV needle more than any other athlete in sport.
More than LeBron. More than Brady. More than Messi. Some watched to see David
(Y.E. Yang) take down Goliath. Bottom line is tons of people watched and are
still watching.

The curtain will be closing on this show soon. No way Tiger plays on the Champions
Tour. And his best rival over the years, Phil Mickelson, is in his final act too. Will we
get the feel good ending so many people want? Or will it be like the old western classic “Shane,” where the aging gunslinger rides off to the mountains facing an unknown future?

One thing’s for sure, we’ll never see “Eldrick The Great”again. His reign is history.

So what about “Mortal Tiger?”

It like an old Asia tune, “Only Time Will Tell.”

###

BTW, this week I think Tiger gets at top ten at Shinnecock. And even though it’s
hard to pick against DJ after his tuneup victory at Memphis last week, I’m going
with Justin Rose to win the U.S. Open.

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