Tiger Woods’ story is on track to be the saddest in sports history.
But yesterday, Tiger Woods beat Australian Aaron Baddeley to clinch the Presidents Cup for the Americans. I think it was a win Woods needed more than any of us can comprehend.
It was two years ago this Friday Woods’ altercation with then-wife Elin Nordegren became a de facto turning point in Woods’ golf career. A man once destined to surpass Jack Nicklaus for the all time record in major victories now sits winless since the Bush Administration.
In these two years, he’s gone through a new swing, a new caddie, a new marital status, two new knees, and zero wins.
While yesterday’s win was part of a team battle, it quenched a thirst for victory to which Woods used to be so accustomed. The smile he shared at the end of the tournament was refreshing. It gave a flashback to a gleam you thought you would never be deprived of.
I want to see Tiger Woods win – and as soon as possible. Once he went through a winless 2010, I said, “OK, he got what he deserved. Now lets get back to golf.”
But this losing streak has taken on a new life. Like a parasite, that Thanksgiving night sucked the game out of the most untouchable icon in sports, let alone golf. Imagine the Beatles releasing Sgt. Pepper, then never playing or releasing another song ever again.
Humans love to see famous people fail. It makes them feel better about themselves. That’s why Angelina Jolie’s zit can make a tabloid’s front cover or why Lindsay Lohan is still relevant.
But for me, Tiger Woods never winning again would be too much. Even though he makes more money in a year than you and I will see in our lifetimes, even though he can get any girl he wants, even though every decision he made was his own, he’s still a human being. Money doesn’t buy happiness. Like family, friends, a home, or a special hobby, Tiger Woods’ has a strong emotional attachment to golf. No amount of money can mask the pain felt by remaining unable to perform at a level so distant from what he once could.
I hope yesterday’s victory gives Tiger the confidence to push his game back to the elite level. The next time you see Tiger Woods, wearing his signature Sunday red, walking up the 18th with a lead, he will have the entire golf nation on his side. Then again, maybe I’m just a nice guy.