I was at my desk, listening to ESPN, when I heard a report that Tiger Woods had shot a 69. I smiled.
When Tiger Woods was on, there was no other. I’ve seen Jack and Arnie, Trevino, Hogan and Player and if I had to bet on one ball-striker for 18 holes, in his day, I’d choose Tiger over all of them. But That’s not why I root for him.
First, I love golf. It’s a game of honor and internal fortitude. On the heels of Tiger’s ascent and sudden fall, those words may seem ironic, but they are the cornerstones for his comeback; both personally and professionally. The old Tiger could will the ball to do as he please. Today, Tiger is a shell of his previous self, and that’s good for Tiger. He will be humbled again and again, but in doing so, hopefully grow into the ambassador the sport needs.
I’ve met Tiger on a few occasions, but the first was most memorable. He was struggling through an event in the months after his personal and professional meltdown, and I was walking along the rope when the officials decided to let Woods and his caddie cross. He walked right by me and I said, “Hang in there man.” He stopped and lifted his head and smiled. “I’m trying. I’m trying.”
I’ve always thought the greatest shot in life, whether in golf, or metaphorically, never follows your second best shot. It comes when you expect it the least, and need it the most. Golf needs Tiger Woods, and I’ll be rooting for him.