RENSLOW: Tiger’s return good for the game
For most of us, it’s an enigma wrapped in an anomaly surrounded by a conundrum. What has kept Tiger off the course this long and will he ever really come back?
An answer might present itself this weekend at Torrey Pines in San Diego where Eldrick “Tiger” Woods has made his first cut in nearly 3 years on the PGA Tour.
We know about a variety of physical ailments and perhaps some domestic miscues that might cloud one’s mind. Yet, the personal issues were several years ago and the surgeries seem like a hazy topic.
It has been so long that we have forgotten how great he was.
When his record is considered, it is almost mind boggling. Nobody was that good for that stretch of time. We may have our current favorites — Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Rory McIlory, etc — but, none of them come even close to what Tiger accomplished.
We have to go back to the legends just to make comparisons.
Tiger has 139 professional, international wins. He won four or more events in a season on the PGA Tour 12 times and notched eight or more wins three times.
To put this in perspective, Johnson has won only four or more events just once, out of 10 years. Spieth has had only one such year. Day has had only one such year.
Now one might question this and ask, “But, Tiger has had more time to accomplish this. Is this a fair comparison?” Yet, when you look at the number of starts, Tiger had four or more wins fives times…including an eight win year and a nine win year.
He was PGA Player of the Year 11 times and Scoring Leader nine times, has won 14 Majors and a record 18 World Golf Championships.
Tiger’s athletic sovereignty has been earned. He was proven in battle and emerged more victorious than any of his predecessors. However, champions are not immortal and it is the nature of things for skills to diminish. And now, he even has a few scars.
It was nearly 10 years ago that Tiger not only played through the pain of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, he bested the world’s top players on route to a playoff victory in the 2008 U.S. Open. Alas, the limb would need surgery, leaving the realm with an obvious vacancy and the question of complete restoration.
We have seen moments of his greatness with eight total wins in 2012–2013. Yet, it was before the 2014 Masters Tournament that Tiger had the first of a least four back surgeries.
For a hang nail, this is not. We’re talking about the golf swing’s center. It has been said that no one is the same after spine surgery and, while some have figuratively gone to pasture, others have successfully completed this type of return.
It’s still too early to tell if Tiger will reign at the highest level, to reach the standard that he has set. Yet, for those golfing in the kingdom, it’s simply good to see him compete. Global issues may have a measure of angst or tumult, but in the world of golf a certain amount of order may be restored.
John Renslow is a PGA Class A Professional and Instructor at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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