By: Steven Brown
4 back surgeries including one to fuse his spine. A comment at the Masters champions dinner in 2017 that he would never play golf again. The scandal of all the affairs in 2010 and the embarrassment of getting arrested for a DUI in 2017. Tiger has endured everything imaginable that threatened to keep him from achieving greatness again on the golf course. Little did we know that Tiger was saving his greatest achievement for the Masters in 2019.
Fast forward to 2018. Tiger was back on the golf course not knowing what to expect. Not even knowing if he could achieve a fraction of the greatness he once had. He showed flashes with a 2nd place finish at the Valspar Championship. Later that summer he led at the Open Championship going into the second nine. He didn’t win but it was a taste of having the lead at a Major Championship. Then came the PGA Championship in August where Tiger showed a huge leap in confidence and play when he finished 2nd to Brooks Koepka. Finally, Tiger broke through with his 80th PGA Tour win at the Tour Championship. That win showed that Tiger could again compete with the best and that he could win under the pressure of tournament golf.
Now we finally come to the Masters in 2019. Tiger started the final round 2 strokes back of Francesco Molinari. Molinari has been the model of consistency over the last 12 months. Even midway through the final round, it looked like Tiger was again going to fall short as Molinari kept making unbelievable pars from spots he shouldn’t make pars from. Then came the 12th hole. Molinari hits it in the water and makes double bogey and opened the door for Tiger and many others to win.
The thing that made this tournament more impressive than any I can remember for Tiger was the level of competition he had to overcome to win and the circumstances surrounding his return to greatness. The likes of Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson, who are Major Champions in their own right, were breathing down his neck as Tiger came down the stretch but Tiger did not relent. He hit great shot after great shot down the stretch and pulled out the one-shot win.
As a fan and a person who idolized Tiger growing up, this win was so emotional for me. Tiger has overcome long odds and unbearable physical ailments to return to the glory he deserves. I’m so happy and excited for him and I can’t wait to see what he does the rest of the year and beyond. The record of 18 Majors held by Jack Nicklaus seems like it could be in reach yet again for Tiger. All that has happened has proven to me that Tiger once and for all is not just the greatest golfer of my generation, but that he is the greatest golfer of all time.