It can’t come as a huge surprise, he won the Tour Championship last year, if Justin Rose hadn’t birdied the last in Atlanta he would have won the whole FedEx Championship Playoffs. So the rumblings had been occurring, intimating that the storm had some power.
Whether it is the greatest comeback of all time or he is the greatest of all time is up for debate. One question which has been answered is, “Do you think he will win a Major again?” That one has been answered. Now he has fifteen and only three away from Jack Nicklaus.
Which leads to the follow-on question, will he equal Jack on eighteen Majors? It’s a bit difficult to argue against that now. If you bear in mind that Jack won his final Major when he was forty-six, Tiger is now forty-three. If you compare the two physically there is very little to compare, Tiger is the more athletic, powerful and stronger of the two.
I always felt that Jack had the edge with regard to consistency, he always seemed to be in contention, never really had a huge gap in his Major wins. But watching Tiger win, against a field where the winner could have been anybody, it really showed that Tiger still has ‘it’, he still has the toolbox to control himself whilst performing under pressure. It looked to me, whilst watching the final round that he was pacing himself, like a thoroughbred in the final stretch, knowing he had the legs to outrun the field, along with the tactical wherewithal to plot himself around the back nine, avoiding the pitfalls only experience teaches.
Everybody knows the tournament truly starts on the back nine on Sunday, with Amen Corner and the inward final six holes. When Molinari’s ball found the water on the twelfth and Tiger then aimed left between the two bunkers, it was clear that the stalking period had ended and the legs were about to be stretched. He didn’t play flawless golf on the way in, two errant swings which were not punished. But he did manoeuvre himself around knowing historically what the winning number would be and how to achieve it.
The fifteenth Major won and the first for a number of reasons. This, unbelievably, was the first time he has won a Major without having the lead going to the final round. It also is the first Major he has won witnessed by his two children. The span between Majors wins was an incredible 3,955 days and equally remarkable is the fourteen years since his last Masters Green Jacket.
The game is better off all round with Tiger playing, Tiger winning creates another level of excitement. Tiger winning Majors is rarefied air indeed. No other sport has such an iconic presence which spans such a long period. It is fair to say that the time delay between wins was somewhat self-inflicted, yet he is back. What really is on the follower of the game’s lips is, will he win again and if so how long until he makes it sixteen?
Not ever wanting to be caught with their proverbial trousers down, the bookies have already named Tiger favourite for the next three Majors. Two stand out reasons for this would be, they don’t want to take a bath if he wins due to the amount of money which will be placed. Secondly, he has won at Pebble Beach and Bethpage Black. A potential third reason is because the gap between Majors has been shortened. Instead of the PGA Championship being held in August it’s been moved up to May so there is only one month to wait until the next instalment. Then June becomes US Open month and July The Open.
Four months of solid work could well favour the in-form player. That momentum lives with Tiger at the moment which means we have a very interesting spring/summer ahead of us!