By Tim Lacy, Special to the AFRO
Tiger Woods finished in 32nd place in the 2018 Masters at Augusta last week, a fairly decent standing considering just how bad Woods has been since his stardom came crashing down nearly a decade ago. Tiger was just good enough to make the U.S. Open cut, scheduled for June.
Woods’ latest consistent golf play has fans across the country wondering if now is the moment that we will see Tiger finally rise from the ashes and return to his glorious throne as Golf’s greatest player? Only time will tell, but in the meantime, let’s revisit the 42-year-old legend’s history in the sport.
When Tiger Woods first strapped on a pair of spikes and picked up a 5-iron, he garnered the attention of golf fans all over the country. Before he took the PGA by storm, Tiger came to our attention on the Ed Sullivan Show as a three-year-old. Tiger was decked out in golf gear and put on a mini seminar for golf wannabees. Fast forward 15 years and Tiger showed up with a bunch of other schoolboys at Stanford, scrambling to win an amateur title. During this period, Tiger won everything he touched, leading us hardcore golf fans to move to the edge of our seats whenever his name showed up on the scorecard.
In 1997, his quest was to win enough money to qualify for the Masters Tournament. He did, and showed up at Augusta and sucked all of the air out of the event. His winning margin sent architects to the drawing board, trying to find ways to Tiger-proof some of the courses.
I have some pretty fond memories of 1997. The sports world was celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball, and my father, Sam Lacy, was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame. Yours truly played in the Baseball Hall of Fame golf tournament. I called Ms. “L” to share my joy of winning the Waterford Crystal Trophy. To put things in perspective, I explained that the trophy was the same one Se Ri Pak had won in the LPGA event recently contested. I was met with, “That’s nice, but Se Ri Pak also received a check for $160,000. Where’s your check?” Can’t win em all.
In the meantime, Tiger continued with his winning ways. He was winning cars when he was too young to drive them. However, he just smiled and continued to win tournaments. Along the way he discovered girls. In 2004, he married Elin Nordegrin and gave the fans another look at the perfect world of Tiger Woods.
However, a Samson on the course, he was a Delilah behind closed doors. In 2010, his wife discovered his indiscretions and the world discovered Tiger’s kryptonite.Tiger’s whole world caved in on him. He became injury prone and couldn’t find the winner’s circle and in some cases couldn’t finish the tournament.
In recent years, he has found his way on the comeback trail and fans are starting to bask in the old memories. Tiger has shown flashes of his old self during last week’s Masters, but then the new Tiger showed back up. Gone are the days of Tiger waking up to find himself behind by 8 strokes, eating his bowl of cereal, and going to the course and blowing away the field.
So, if you’re asking this particular golf aficionado if Tiger is on a real comeback, my answer will be to look at his play. When Tiger responded to our prayers and made the cut at the Masters, hopes were kept alive. However, we watched the once best golfer in the world languish in mediocrity.