I was surprised how happy Tigers winning the Masters made me. Yes, I had predicted that he’d come back and win another majors on a message board in 2013, so there was that small joy in being right, but my feelings went way beyond that.
“Are you a Tiger fan?” my mom asked.
“Not exactly,” I thought, “but I had wanted to see him win again, because….. because…. “
Because I want to believe that no matter what mistakes you make in life, that if you put in the work, you can overcome those errors. I want to believe that poor choices do NOT have a lifelong effect. YOU CAN COME BACK. Tiger had just demonstrated over 4 amazing days that this was true and I was stoked.
My fascination went beyond that though. I wanted to study and replay HOW had he done it? This final day of the Masters where he had started behind, climbed into a tie for the lead, fallen back, tied, fallen back…. How had he WON it? There were like a zillion guys within a stroke of each other, just one of them faltering wouldn’t have mattered, so no one gave him this victory. He had to win the damn thing.
Tiger’s victory was UNEXPECTED. After over a decade of major golf tournaments rarely having Tiger in the running and never having Tiger winning, I had started to view him as a permanent ‘also-ran’ (despite my 2013 comment). I had sort of accepted that he would forever be returning-to-form and never actually on top of the leaderboard. I was SHOCKED by his victory in a wonderfully, good way. He had done it!! Wait, how had he won again?
He won it by playing GREAT GOLF. That was what made America fall in love with him in the first place, wasn’t it? Great golf. Steady nerves, awesome drives, discipline and focus on winning, choosing that a bogey on the 18th hole would be the best thing that could happen to him in a very very long time.
The reasons I am happy about Tiger winning have virtually nothing to do with golf. In fact, I really don’t like golf. And that’s what the golf geeks might miss, Tiger appeals to the masses and always has.
A young athletic black man dominating golf starting in 1997 (yup, last century, last millennium) was a refreshing change, for all of us. And now we relate to the fallen hero victorious again in a whole different way.
Who among us doesn’t have something that we’re trying to comeback from — a relationship we screwed up, an illness or injury, a job loss, or just having eaten too many chips and desserts and being unable to run a mile without our lungs or legs screaming at us. Tiger’s victory says fallible people can achieve greatness. Booyah!!
And so…. people like me, who only half pay attention when family and friends watch and talk golf, were and are, transfixed by Tiger winning the Masters. And yes, that’s probably good for golf. It certainly feels good for the heart.