April 13, 2011
What’s seven strokes to Tiger Woods? Apparently nothing. Tiger was seven strokes behind upstart Rory McIlroy to open the final round of The Masters this past weekend and shot a five-under 31 on the front nine to grab a share of the lead.
Tiger’s approach at Augusta National was essentially an act of defiance—Tiger stuck his foot in the door. As the PGA tried to show him the gate and usher in younglings McIlroy, Jason Day, Adam Scott and Charl Schwartzel, Woods proved that after a dreadful past two years, he is as good as he’s ever been … Exactly why I rooted for him.
The fact that Woods can rebound from public humiliation, the loss of his family and the longest losing streak of his life is, to me, incredible. Tiger was abandoned by practically everyone after his wife Elin caught him “sexting” a mistress in December of 2009, an incident that eventually led to revelations of Tiger’s addiction to sex.
Nonetheless, Tiger fell with class. He issued countless apologies—and to me he seemed sincere. He gave his wife and kids space when they needed it. He even hired lawyers and private guards to shield them from the media. Finally, he issued a 14-minute statement laden with explanation after excruciating explanation. How did we the public know he was truthful? We hated his answers.
When Tiger came back from his 144-day hiatus, golf was clearly not the most important thing on his mind and he went winless for the first time in his career. Finally, Tiger seems to have things straightened out. He smiled after he tapped in a par on 18 to give him a six-under 66 and fourth-place finish on Sunday’s final round. Though it wasn’t enough to pull out a green jacket, Tiger proved he’s still the world’s best and at age 35, he has a long time to be dominant again.