Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Year Ago at the Memorial

In 2009, Tiger Woods was still golf's shining star, a man returning from a knee injury but once again on top of the game. Nothing showed this more than the Memorial Skins Game, that included Tiger, Kenny Perry, Stewart Cink and host Jack Nicklaus.

The above video shows it all, but I figured it would be worth transcribing exactly what happened. Tiger needed to make a clutch 15-footer to save par on the 18th hole, and of course rolled it in only to have Kenny laugh and exclaim, "You always make it." This was true. Up until that point, Tiger had never really missed a putt of any importance. That would all change later in the year, at the PGA Championship, when Woods missed a huge par save on the 17th hole to give Y.E. Yang a huge cushion heading into the 18th hole, which he would birdie and bump Tiger from his "never losing a 54-hole lead in a major" pedestal.

But, back to the skins game. The result of his par putt forced a chip off between the players. Tiger stood over his ball in rainy conditions, scooped at his wedge shot and waiting as Jack let him know that the shot looked good. It was good. Good enough to drop in the cup, and lead to that "f*** I'm good, and I know it" grin and laugh we've seen too many times from Tiger.

This year is obviously different. Tiger is limping in, figuratively and emotionally, and who knows how the man that has won this event four times (including 2009) will fare. For the first time in Tiger's career, the pick on how he will finish extends past "well, top-5 or a win." He might miss the cut. He might withdraw. He might win.

We don't know. The good thing is, we have the Internet, and it gives us video like the one above, of the better days for Tiger and for us. Things seemed simpler then. Hopefully we can get back to that point sooner than later.


Jim said...

It's nice to have the guy who could prove to be the greatest golfer in history playing at a time when I'm alive and can enjoy his triumphs as they accumulate. I've thoroughly enjoyed rooting for Tiger over the course of the past 13 years and would love to get back to a point where I can enjoy this part of following professional golf again.

However, as I rooted against Kobe Bryant (a player I used to love to watch) last week in a game against the Suns, I started to wonder how much time will need to pass before I can support Tiger, as a player, without feeling a little dirty about doing so.

Jim Dauer

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