Before I go on about a topic that I know 95 percent of the people who read this are going to find too boring, I’m going to give you a fair warning: this is a column about golf.
More importantly, it’s a column about Tiger Woods.
There is no new scandal involving Woods, and no, he is no longer the most hated figure in sports, and yet he is becoming more talked about than ever.
Personally, I love the game of golf. My grandparents taught me how to play when I was eight years old and from that moment on, I adored it. And of course growing up, my favorite professional golfer was Tiger Woods.
I’d watch every tournament he played in (and back then, Tiger won almost everything he entered), and then I’d go to a golf course with my tiny child-sized clubs, and I’d try to imitate all of the great shots I had witnessed Tiger shoot over the weekend.
I never hit the ball 300 yards or placed the ball five feet from the hole after hitting a ball that was buried in knee-deep rough, but nonetheless these were some of the best memories of my childhood.
And then October 2009 happened.
Not only did one of my childhood idols ruin his reputation, but he also dropped off the face of the golfing world. And on the rare occasion he did play, he sucked.
Since 2009, my clubs have sat in my garage gathering dust and cobwebs. Not because I didn’t enjoy playing the sport anymore, but because I just didn’t see the point. Without Tiger, golf had died.
From 2010 to 2012, it was a long three years for golf. There was no dominant competitor mowing down the competition like the grass they play on. And while most people would think that a competitive playing field with no superstars would be entertaining, those people couldn’t be more wrong.
But then this past New Year’s came around, and Tiger seemed to find his swing again.
He started 2013 by winning the Farmers Insurance Open in January. And in March, everything for Tiger clicked. On March 10, he won the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, Fla. Then “The King’s” tournament arrived on the calendar. Tiger took the Arnold Palmer Invitational by storm and won fairly easily for his 77th career win.
Who knows what got into Tiger? Maybe it’s the fact that the scandal is long behind him, and the media is solely focusing on him on the course. Maybe he fixed his mechanics and got back to that sweet swing from 2008 instead of the one we’ve seen as of late where every ball ends up in a forest. Or maybe it’s his new relationship with Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn. I mean Tiger seems happy (Who wouldn’t be if they were dating Lindsey Vonn? She’s gorgeous.) and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it is easier to enjoy the most frustrating game ever (Trust me. If you’ve never played, this game will raise your blood pressure) when you are happy.
Whatever it is, the Masters are a little more than a week away, and Tiger is in full stride. And for the first time in three years, he is the hands down favorite to win the Green Jacket.
It’s safe to say that golf is back, and if Tiger manages to win his fifth Masters tournament, the sport may become bigger than it ever was. Not only would the greatest golfer to ever play be at his best, but he would’ve also overcome one of the greatest falling outs in history.
And for me, I’m already itching to dust off my clubs so that I can enjoy my afternoons searching for my balls amongst the trees and praying that my ball won’t end up in the water. Talent or no talent, golf will always be something I love to play, but there is no doubt that the sport is better when Tiger Woods is winning.
— Troy Provost-Heron is a freshman in journalism & electronic media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org