Sports

How Close Is Tiger To Recapturing Greatness?

By SHAUN BIJANI
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(credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

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Images From The Final Round

There were a number of story lines that cam out of the Masters this past weekend, and with all due respect to the winner of the 2011 Masters, Charl Schwartzel, he was at least 3rd on the depth chart of the Who Cares Department this morning.

How about the epic fail for 21-year-old Rory McILroy? Nah!

What takes he cake? I’ll speak for all golf fans here…Tiger Woods, nearly won the Masters.

Why wouldn’t that be the top story? He’s still the top golfer according to fans, even if after his this weekends performance at Augusta puts him as No. 5 in the world rankings. If fans had a vote for the world rankings, kind of like college football coaches do in the AP coaches poll and sports writers do in the USA Today poll in college football, then Tiger would never have fallen from No. 1 to No.7 prior to this Masters.

Indeed, it’s disputable, but did you hear the roar of the crowd when Tiger made the eagle putt on No. 8?

The anticipation building by the crowd on the back-nine was escalating, the crowd on the 18th green anxiously awaiting to explode with cheers as Tiger walks up to the green to tap in for birdie or par as he’s done 4 times prior to Sunday.

The drama was there, the stage was set, the scenario of course did not play out as everybody thought.

He did something though that he’d never done before at Augusta on a Sunday.

He shot a 5-under, 67.

In posting his best final round ever at Augusta on Sunday, I think in some way, he instilled that fear into the rest of the field once again. Tiger winning on Sunday though, wasn’t meant to be, he wasn’t going to win Sunday if he’d posted a 65 or 64, he needed a 63 just to tie Schwartzel, who played as solid gold as anyone I’d ever seen over a 4 day stretch at Augusta in the last 10 years.

Tiger didn’t putt well enough to win, he was inconsistent throughout the week, but what did on Sunday, is show the fans, the field and most importantly himself, that he’s not far from recapturing that killer instinct, that drive, that says he’s better than anyone in the field, and it’s his tournament to lose.

If I had a crystal ball, I’d be able to tell you that Tiger one day, will catch and surpass Jack Nicklaus for the most majors all-time. However, I don’t have one of those, and it’s just inconceivable to me that anyone could doubt Woods’ ability, drive, determination and will to win from here on out.

He’s not 25 years old anymore, he’s 35, and will be 36 at year’s end. He may never hold all 4 major tournament titles simultaneously again, he may never be ranked the world’s top ranked golfer for 281 weeks straight again, but that doesn’t take away from his greatness.

It can’t. He’s already achieved it.

It’s like that piece of paper on my wall, my college diploma. No one I graduated high school with ever thought I’d graduate college, heck, most probably questioned if I deserved to graduate high school. No one can take that away from me, I’ll always have that (Go Coogs).

I digress, whatever Tiger does from here on out is unpredictable, but this year’s Masters could go down as one of the most memorable, not just for Charl Schwartzel and probably not for fans, but for Tiger Woods it could.

At year’s end, he could look back at the tournament at Augusta and realize, that’s where he regained his swagger, his killer instinct, his mojo.

This is one of the many things that makes golf great, what makes sports great. The rise to greatness, the fall and the resurgence?

For Tiger will there be a resurgence? You may have just witnessed the beginning this past Sunday.

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