Why Tiger’s 5th Masters Win Means Everything
At this point, unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard the news: Tiger Woods has won the 2019 Masters, storming through the field to win his 15th Major Victory, his first since the 2008 US Open. I’m not breaking any news here, and I know it. I’m not a huge golf fan, and I haven’t written anything on the sport for LMBF before. But this is different. Tiger winning this year’s Masters is the biggest story in sports of this year. There’s no contest.
Why does this win mean so much? I mean, isn’t it obvious? Tiger has been as high as any athlete has ever been, dominating the sport in a way no athlete ever has or will during the late 90’s to 2008. Well, then we know what happened. The cheating scandal. The back injuries. The fused spine. And, what really seemed like rock bottom, the DUI in May 2017. That mugshot is seared into the minds of almost anyone with internet access:
It’s an ugly shot, the image of a man who had lost everything. And while he took a lot of ridicule for this, it was anything but funny: a man who was at his lowest valley, driving with an insane amount of painkillers in his system. His own actions may have cost him his picture perfect family, but at this point his body and addiction were what took Tiger to rock bottom.
But all of this feeds into where we are today. When Tiger started looking like himself a little bit in last year’s Open and PGA, the world’s ears pricked up. All roads were leading to Augusta for the 2019 Masters. Could Tiger turn back the clock and pull the rabbit out of his hat at Augusta, the place where he announced himself to the world in 1997?
Where he gave Nike the most iconic free commercial of all time in 2005?
Yeah, winning the PGA or Open last year to end his drought would have been cool to end the drought. But it had to happen at Augusta, at the Masters. It had to.
So, in true story book fashion, how’d this weekend play out? The only way it could. Absolute chills on 18 with that vintage Tiger finish. Send this straight into my veins:
I’m not going to try to analyze the golf that was played, or the competition. I’m not a golf expert, and I won’t try to be. But that isn’t what this article is about.
It’s about the fist pump on 18. The roar of the mob that had followed Tiger all day. The smile of pure joy on his face, something we had not often seen from Prime Tiger. And most importantly, the hug from his son Charlie.
Watching that moment was easily the most emotional I’ve ever been watching a sporting event. Tiger Woods is a man who had been as low as anyone could be. He had fallen from the highest of highs, to a point not many recover or come back from. But he kept fighting, dug himself out, and got back to the top. He was able to show his kids what he once was, and what he had strived to get back to.
I’m not trying to forget or brush aside the cheating scandal and what that did to Elin or his family. That caused irreparable damage to many, and cannot be forgotten. But by all accounts, Tiger is a changed man. He took accountability for everything he had done, overcame the personal demons of addiction and depression, and remade himself. He may not be able to erase what he did, but he can create positive change moving forward and be the father his kids need.
And this victory is a symbol for all that: where he had fallen from, where he crawled out of, and what he is now. That he is capable of getting back up and being what he knows he can. A 43 year old, over a decade removed from his last major, who has had spinal fusion surgery isn’t supposed to win the Masters. He’s supposed to be done. Finished.
And that’s why this victory means everything. This speaks to anybody – no matter what you’ve done, who you’ve been, you can come back. You can overcome, and you can be who you’re meant to be. It may not be easy, but the mountaintop can be reached.
So, while this victory takes Tiger one step closer to matching Jack Nicklaus’ 18 career grand slams, it really shouldn’t matter whether he gets there or not. If number 15 is the end, so be it. Everything else is icing on the cake. While I’d love to see more, this is the one victory golf needed. Those of us who had seen Tiger in his prime can have that one last moment in the sun. And now a new generation of kids knows what Sunday Red means. And that’s a damn scary sight for anyone on that same course.
Golf is better when Tiger is being Tiger. Everyone tunes in, it’s like the damn Super Bowl in April. And while I don’t want to get into politics or that stuff too much, it sure makes a statement when the guy putting on the green jacket isn’t a 30-something white dude. This victory, in more ways than one, is nothing but a positive for the sport of golf and the emotion it inspired.
So Tiger, this one’s for you. Everyone knows what this victory meant to you. You showed us all how to fight, how to persevere, how to grow, and how to become what we’re meant to be. Hopefully, you know what this victory meant to us – Everything.