From Sports Illustrated:
Returning from horrific auto accident, Tiger celebrated by playing remarkable golf with his remarkable son.
The golf-watching world is pretty much divided into two camps:
People who happily watch Tiger Woods do anything. And I do mean anything. I once saw people in the gallery at Medinah marvel as Tiger entered a Port-a-Potty between holes.
And then there are the people who grind their teeth at the over-attention paid to Tiger. They tend to be golf purists who think the spotlight should always go to players who are playing well.
I was very briefly in the latter, when Tiger was just beginning his assault on the golf record book. But that changed a long, long time ago.
When I was covering golf tournaments, I realized I was joining the throngs following him. Because, win or lose, he was the story—sort of like Notre Dame. Or the Yankees. Or at least Notre Dame and the Yankees back in the day.
The thing is, Tiger Woods isn’t merely the greatest golfer of his generation.
He is a tragic and complex hero who transcends sports. Golf, of course, is at the heart of his fame. But he is a sporting version of Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Bogart.
A little more controversial, perhaps. But he would fit right in at that midnight diner with those iconic celebrities in the knockoff of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks.
The difference is, Tiger isn't past tense yet. Those who were paying attention last weekend were treated to another amazing chapter in the Life of Tiger.
Just when you think there can’t be any more new twists on the Woods saga. . . there is an amazing new twist.
Merely returning from injury, or playing through an injury, is a Woods staple. The knee surgeries, the back surgeries, winning the 2008 U.S. Open on one leg—who can keep track of them all?
This one was a bit different in many ways. When Tiger teed it up at the PNC Championship in Orlando last week, he was coming back on a surgically repaired right leg that nearly was amputated after he drove an SUV off a winding road nearly a year ago.
Given his history and his stature, I always wonder why Tiger ever gets behind a wheel—especially last February, when he was at a tournament sponsored by Genesis, an upscale automobile.
This Woods drama also was different because the PNC Championship is a made-for-TV event—a two-person scramble featuring parent-child teams.
The USGA really ought to look into making this a serious national event. There could be one tournament for Tour-caliber pros and one for accomplished amateurs, with U.S. Open-like qualifying. I'm guessing that will happen sooner than later.
Some standards would need to be established. Maybe even some divisions by age or handicap. But the PNC has shown the possibilities.
Tiger or not, it’s a fun event that runs the gamut from Lee Trevino and Gary Player to Nelly Korda and John Daly.
But Tiger and his 12-year-old son, Charlie?
Never mind that they finished second to John Daly, who has his own out-of-the-ordinary golf life, and son. Never mind that Tiger and Charlie made 11 birdies in a row before coming up short. This show went beyond your usual golf tournament.
Charlie doesn’t merely have the swing, the mannerisms and color-coordinated wardrobe of his dad.
He has the game.
On 17, a perilous 169-yard par-3 with a pin tucked near the water, Charlie threw a dart to tap-in range. With the tournament on the line.
Charlie caught a distance break on the par 4s and 5s. But on the 3s, he was playing from the same tees. And none of the grownups got even close. Check it out here.
Talk about another chapter in what makes the Tiger Woods story so irresistible. Charlie Woods! It will be so interesting to see what he does with his golf life. And/or his life.
Oh, and by the way, his dad certainly stirred up that question about how far Tiger can go with this 38th comeback from oblivion.
I would need to see Tiger win on the PGA Tour, let alone at a major, before I would believe it. The obstacles seem too insurmountable. A shattered leg on top of back and knee problems? He’s 45 years old? He has all the money any 10 people would ever need?
And yet, I’ll be watching. And so will the legion of Tiger watchers—golfers and beyond—who are fascinated by a life that is marked by so much accomplishment. And so much disaster.
Edited by BossInVegas