April 15, 2019

Can you imagine what the vibe was like at GOLF Channel after Tiger Woods’ win at Augusta on Sunday? Why, you just know it had to have been the golf equivalent of what it would have been like at CNN and MSNBC had Robert Mueller’s report found incontrovertible evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and that a subpoena with Donald Trump’s John Hancock on it was forthcoming. I mean, to see all that fawning coverage and over-the-top ass-kissing (yes, I’m especially talking about you, Rich Lerner) for the past, what, ever finally – finally! bear fruit had to have been very self-satisfying beyond their wildest dreams.

Now that Tiger has won his 15th major the floodgates open. The hunt for Jack’s record of 18 majors is back on.

How amazing is Tiger? Isn’t Tiger magnificent? What can Tiger do to top this?

Tiger. Tiger. Tiger. Tiger. Tiger. All Tiger all the time.

Now there’s no longer any excuse for 24/7 Tiger coverage. It’s back to open season on everything Tiger. We’ll hear about every thought, comment, and action Tiger takes for the rest of our natural lives or until his body breaks down again (whichever comes first). He’s now automatically the overwhelming favorite going into every tournament he enters. Everything that was once off the board is back on the board. No one, or nothing else, associated with professional golf – never mind the PGA TOUR – matters anymore. No matter what anyone does going forward, it will all be somehow related back to Tiger and what Tiger did or has done.

Just think of it. Say, Brooks Koepka wins, say, another U.S. Open. You just know the first question out of the media’s mouth will be, “So, Brooks, how does this win feel knowing that you missed that putt on 18 at the Masters to basically hand Tiger the tournament.” Or, say, Justin Thomas wins his second major down the line and Tiger finishes four strokes back. You just know the question will be something like, “So Justin, did having Tiger lurking behind you with a chance at his 16th major ever enter your mind?” Because that’s how it’s going to be going forward – no matter what anyone else does, or how anyone else plays, you just know the media – and especially the shills at GOLF Channel – will try and work Tiger into the conversation. You thought it was bad before today? Lemme tell, y’all, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet. Unless you’re an incurable Tiger flunkie, the coverage will be virtually unwatchable.

Look, I’m not trying to take anything away from Tiger’s achievement, most especially after everything he has been through since his last major win in 2008. He not only outplayed the field on a murky, threatening Sunday, he out-thought and thus out-persevered the rest of the field. I always figured if Tiger was going to win another major it would be at Augusta. Why? Because Augusta on a Sunday is unlike any other experience in professional golf. It requires, thought, patience, and strategy. It’s not just about the shot in front of you, it’s recognizing the vibe all around you and how to handle it. And, besides Phil Mickelson, there’s no one who knows Augusta, the pressure, the shot-making required, and the Sunday afternoon vibe, better than Tiger Woods.

The saying goes that the Masters doesn’t really start until the back nine on Sunday, and was there never a better example of that today? I mean, there you had Francesco Molinari on cruise control, only to be one of four – four! – players in the last two groups to find the water on the par 3 #12. And when that happened you could almost hear the gears in Tiger’s head start churning up a notch. He knew, just like everyone knew, that Molinari created an opening wide enough to drive a 16-wheeler through it, and that that was going to sting the rest of the way through. And while there were players and pretenders making mini-charges the rest of the way, you could see Tiger simply sticking to his plan, knowing that if he kept on doing what he was doing the others would find a way to fall by the wayside.

Honestly? I didn’t think Brooks Koepka was going to miss that putt on 18. After all, dude has ice water in his veins, right? I mean, of all the friggin’ putts to miss! But that’s the way it goes.

A couple of other thoughts:

1. Enough about Rory McIlroy. He’s the golf equivalent of a pretty boy who just doesn’t want to get his hands dirty. Might be the greatest guy in the world, but he made his fame and fortune too early. Whenever I hear someone say that (for all intents and purposes) it doesn’t really matter if you win or lose the Masters it won’t change who you are as a person, that tells me everything I need to know. No one will dispute his talent, but the fact is, he’s not, and never will be, a killer. And the same holds true for Justin Rose.

2. Jordan Spieth? Ditto. Listen, I absolutely love to watch the guy play golf, but it’s obvious he’s got a stubborn streak in him a mile wide. Brandel Chamblee laid out before THE PLAYERS exactly what Jordan was doing wrong and what he needed to get back to his earlier form, and you have to think “his team” saw or heard Brandel’s comments. The fact he hasn’t taken them to heart tells me everything I need to know. Regardless of his public comments, he’s got to know that his swing sucks and he has no clue where his next shot is going to go. So what’s he trying to prove?

3. Dustin Johnson misses way too many putts from ten feet in to ever win a green jacket. He played great this week, but at Augusta (as I’m sure he knows) it all comes down to putting. I think Brooks Koepka now knows this and will adjust accordingly – after all, he, unlike Rory, is a steely-eyed killer who’s going to win at least one major this year. And perhaps Augusta next year.

4. Alternatively, Xander Schauffele is a virtual lock to win a green jacket someday. He’s got the same kind of steely-eyed killer instinct that Koepka does, he’s just a little behind him yet. Justin Thomas? I’m not so sure. I think there are some tournaments and courses that make a good match for players and I don’t see Augusta being that way for JT.

5. While it was pathetic to see Adam Scott miss all those putts on Saturday, it’s just as well as he did, because if he couldn’t make them on “moving day” you knew there was no way in hell he was going to make them on Sunday when it mattered. I love his swing but as a putter he is painful to watch.

Finally, just another indicator of how Tiger Woods doesn’t just move the needle, he is the needle. After the Masters ended, I was at the PGA TOUR Superstore down the street to pick up a couple of gloves. I mentioned to the sales person Tiger’s win, and the guy tells me they expect business to increase as much as 20% over the coming weeks purely because of Tiger’s win at Augusta. Tells you something, huh?

Is it too late to make Tiger the favorite at Bethpage Black? Or maybe even sweep the majors and catch Jack after winning the Open Championship in July? Why not? After all, you just know he’s now the favorite going into all those events. Heck, he’s already a lock for golfer of the year.

Whoo whoo!!!! I’m riding the Tiger train.

I think not. But he does deserve all the congratulations in the world for finding his way back to the top of the professional golf world. Well done, Tiger.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:23 | Comments (0)
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