The tiger roars once again. When he won the Masters in 1997, his first major, at the age of 21, the rest of the golf world was put on notice. A young prodigy, a phenom of ethnicity different from the norm, the expected has entered the scene and he was not to be reckoned with.
Many were left in awe and in sheer amazement of the talent, the body type that was in display. He was chiseled out of the gym—making the ladies drool like never before. Tiger was not the typical beer guts, fat flopping of those that dominated that sport. He was muscular and athletic. Men wanted to be like him and women, hmm, wanted him.
Some fellow golfers thought him to be a one hit wonder. That year, he blistered the course winning by a margin of 12 shots. A feat that I don’t think will ever be repeated. He was the toast of the country and the world. An African-American did the unthinkable.
The Tiger Roars once again
He was not the first to blaze the trail by breaking the color barrier but he was the first to hoist the Masters trophy and he did it in dominating fashion. The years that followed, Tiger proved to the world that he was here to stay and he was on course to break the hallowed record of 18 major championships, currently held by Jack Nicklaus.
Tiger brought the casual and non-golf fans to the yard or to the country clubs. People tuned in in every tournament that Tiger was contender. The viewership for the majors on TV networks were breaking and setting records. The tiger effect. That effect was also felt amongst his peers positively and negatively.
They were raking millions because of the sport’s popularity. Fears seemed to have overcome them when Tiger was on the field—they would make mistakes that were not becoming of their game.
“Tiger! Tiger! Tiger” were the chants from the patrons. He was on top of this game; Tiger Woods was on top of the sport; he was on top of the world.
Who could bring this man down? Who could challenge him?
Ah! I am glad you ask.
Many former great men had fallen. Many strong pillars were crumbled once before.
Tiger became a fixture in every household. He was also the family man that many would like to emulate. He was married to his Swedish sweetheart and later became the father of two children.
And then, on the frightful morning of November 30th, 2009, the headline read, “Tiger Woods injured in crash”. We were stunned and we were now at the edge of our seats waiting for the news to be developed.
Tiger was treated at the hospital and was released. A collective sigh of relief was heard throughout the world. Our god-like figure was okay and world order has been restored.
Hold on! That was not the end of the story. You can read it for yourself if you don’t know the rest. All I am going to say is that: there was David, there was Samson, there was Solomon, there was Bill Clinton, there is Trump. You can connect the dots. Trump and Tiger are golf buddies if you need a hint.
The world was waiting
The last major that Tiger won was in 2008 when he outlasted Rocco Mediate at the US Open on some bad knees. Those knees and bad back coupled with some unwritten transgressions would halt his progressive march toward being the best ever in the world at his sport. Divorced from his wife, Tiger’s life became the butt of joke for comedians and non-comedians alike.
The world saw a man who was once on top of the world crashed. Physically, he was beaten down. Mentally, he had lost his air and aura. He was no longer the same. Most people, me included, thought he was shot and there was no way he would regain his form and his dominance. He was done. He was left to eat dust on the golf courses.
And then, on Sunday, April 14th, 2019, at the Masters where this all started, Tiger roared again. The crowd was abuzz. Hardcore, casual fans were glued to their tv watching the unthinkable, the unimaginable, the resurgence of a man who was once dead.
He’s alive again. At least for that one weekend, Tiger proved to us to never doubt the resolve a man. As long as a man has God’s breath inside of him, he can overcome and he can be great again.
We know the man is flawed, as with many of us, but on that day he made us believe and demonstrated to us that we are all redeemable.
Written by e-Man