History at Augusta

Tiger! Tiger! Tiger! Tiger! The roar from the crowd and the chants of Tigers name echoed across the Augusta National Golf Course Sunday afternoon, and no doubt also across the Nation via television, as Tiger Woods won the Masters and his 5th Green Jacket! This was history in the making, and a tournament that I was thrilled to watch!

Through out the tournament, and especially Sunday – the final round, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that this was going to be something special. Could Tiger finally make his comeback complete with another major win?

It was 2005 when Tiger last won the Masters, and since then – back problems and knee problems, and countless surgeries to address those issues, and of course the non-forgiving march of time – was taking its toll.

But Tiger looked different for this tournament from day one. He looked confident, focused, and didn’t get rattled when he made mistakes. Every time he found himself in trouble – he minimized the damages and marched on, biding his time, comfortable with just hanging within a couple strokes from the leaders.

On Sunday, championship day, he didn’t change his strategy at all, and almost as if on cue, the “mystique” of being paired with Tiger Woods on the final day of a championship, apparently began to take its toll and the leaders began to find themselves in troubles of their own, and soon Tiger was tied for the lead, and soon after that 2 strokes ahead.

By the time Tiger got to the 18th hole, a par 4, he was still up by 2 strokes. He played the final hole conservatively knowing that a bogey would still win it, and that’s exactly what happened. His par putt missed, just grazing the right edge of hole, but the ball settled just a foot or so away for an easy bogey putt for the win. The roars that erupted when that putt went in probably could be heard in downtown Augusta itself.

As the Tiger chants filled the air, I couldn’t help but wonder how the other players feel about Tiger’s popularity. All of the players have fans, and there are roars for each of them when they work their magic on the course. But those are rather pale by comparison to when the crowd roars for Tiger.

It is my own opinion, that the other players probably don’t mind too much. I’m sure they all realize that the sport of golf owes a lot to Tiger. He made the sport popular to watch. Before Tiger, most people didn’t even tune in.

Congratulations to Tiger Woods!