Tomorrow Tiger Woods, at age 42, begins his quest for a fifth Masters Tournament. He will compete against players, some of whom were infants when he won his first championship in 1997. For a number of reasons he has not played at the legendary Augusta National course, home to America’s most prestigious golf championship, since 2015.
I believe the ratings on CBS will be through the roof in anticipation of Tiger’s quest to win the coveted green jacket. After a number of back surgeries over the past years he has regained his confidence and poise; The Tiger is ready and America is ready for the Tiger.
I admire his tenaciousness in honing his competitive skills to the level they once were. He screwed his marriage up by philandering which hardly endeared him to his fans and as well as America in general. His public image tanked and, at the same time so did his golf game. He lost his edge, his concentration, his wife and his competitiveness. Back surgeries further compounded his woes.
When he tees off on Thursday I want him to do well. No one who watches golf wants to see bad shots or the agony of a player struggling. There is no better way to watch the Masters than to see a half dozen players in contention going into the final four holes. It’s excitement that will keep you on the edge of your seat for the final 90 minutes on Sunday.
Whether Woods is in that position is something everyone will be curious to see. But you have to give him praise for rebuilding his game and his image. He seems much more at ease now but the pressure on him to measure up to the old Tiger will be immense.
Whether he wins or finishes way out of the money, he has brought a new life to golf. The fairways are bulging with spectators who follow him watching every shot he makes. TV cameras capture every facial expression he makes. Commentators speculate about his state of mind. He will be under a microscope that has rarely been seen in any sporting event in recent years.
Golf needs this excitement, this shot of adrenaline. No matter what you think of him I hope Tiger Woods will be one of those six players in contention at the end. Tune in on Sunday. Tiger or not, you won’t be disappointed.
The Master’s can be seen on ESPN on Thursday and Friday at 3 p.m. and on CBS at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
(Tiger Woods photo courtesy of Tiger Woods Facebook)