I’ve played three years of high school golf. Every time I tee’d off… every time I approached the green… every time I was ready to putt… I imagined that I was Tiger Woods. Tiger was the reason I started to have an interest in golf. Before him, I thought golf wasn’t appealing. I started to even question why golf was even a sport.
Seeing Tiger play and dominate at a young age, provided me with a pulse for the sport. I began to watch him regularly during the summer and the majors on a regular. I made sure I was at home on Sundays to watch him cruise to victory after victory. He had overcome rivals such as Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Rocco Mediate, Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, and Jim Furyk. I even started to take notes of his game and tried to replicate his tactics.
Tiger Woods came out the gate destroying the competition. In 1997, Woods was the youngest to ever win The Masters at the age of 21 (win by 12 strokes). In 2001, he became the first golfer to be the reigning champion of all four majors. Tiger has won a total of 14 majors and 79 career PGA tour events. In every event that Woods has played in, you will see him wear the color red on Sundays. He said:
“I wear red on Sundays because my mom thinks that that’s my power color, and you know you should always listen to your mom.”
My favorite memory of Tiger Woods came at the U.S. Open in 2008 when he beat Rocco Mediate in a playoff to claim the major championship. What makes this major significant for Woods, and myself personally, is that he won this major on a bad left knee. He was shown grimacing and in discomfort while taking strokes (especially while teeing off). Shortly after taking the crown, Woods had reconstructive surgery on his ACL on the same left knee. He was out of action for over 9 months. With this injury, came a domino effect of different and reoccurring injuries.
The scandal in December of 2009, when he openly admitted to cheating on his (now) ex-wife, did not help his status of trying to return to “Vintage Tiger”. Woods eventually started to lose endorsements such as Gillette, AT&T, and Gatorade. You add this with the chronic injuries, you have a recipe for failure for anybody’s image and career.
Even with the scandal that has stained his imaged and lost some of his endorsements, Tiger Woods will always have a major influence on my life and my others. The recent news of him returning to golf at Safeway, after being out more than a year due to injuries, has given me hope that maybe (just maybe) he might be able to show his dominance one more time. I know it’s wishful thinking, but I’ve seen crazier things happen in sports. Either way, I’ll be following him again on his return to golf. I just want to see that signature fist pump one more time.