Sam Landstra–Staff Writer
Tiger Woods’ first PGA Tour win since 2013 at the 2018 Tour Championship signals the return of the golf legend for many.
Golf fans witnessed an event they had not seen in quite some time last Sunday—Tiger Woods hoisting a trophy in celebration of a PGA Tour victory. Tiger, who held the lead all weekend, won comfortably with an 11-under par. The next closest competitor was Billy Horschel who finished two strokes behind.
Tiger’s victory marks the first time he has won a PGA Tour event in over five years, his last being in 2013. For those counting, that is 1,876 days. Due to the victory, Tiger’s World Golf Ranking projects him at 13th, a remarkable comeback given that less than a year ago Tiger’s rating fell to as low as 668th in December of 2017.
Ever since 2009, when Woods crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant, revealing extramarital affairs with now ex-wife Ellin Nordegren, Woods’ career has been a roller coaster of ups and downs. Four back and three knee surgeries took him out of competition for months at a time. During these times, Woods’ pain was often so great that he was not able to play on the ground with his children.
Apart from golf, Woods was arrested in May of 2017 for a DUI. Found to be under the influence of painkillers, Woods said the drugs were aiding in his recovery from his most recent back surgery.
Through these various trials and tribulations, many speculated if Tiger would ever return to the level of excellence he once played at. With each stroke reminiscent of Tiger’s greatness that appeared on the course, people have wondered, “Is Tiger back?”
Although Tiger has appeared to be on the rise in the past, only to fall to injury or some other complication, many experts believe this time is for real. In April, Nike celebrated Tiger’s return to the Masters after a two year absence with a video titled “Welcome Back.” Nike was also one of the only companies to keep their endorsement deals with Tiger after his 2009 scandal.
Not surprised by Tiger’s recent win and optimistic of Tiger’s future is Dordt golf coach and professor of psychology, Mark Christians. Christians believes that should Tiger return to greatness, it would be now. “I think Tiger’s swing the way it is right now puts him in the best position to win more tournaments, potentially more majors,” Christians said. He also said that he observed an increase in Tiger’s maturity over the years and now is rooting for his comeback. Many other golf fans who once distanced themselves from Tiger due to his various scandals have also jumped back on the Tiger bandwagon. However, despite his opinion on Tiger’s return, Christians does not believe that Tiger will equal or surpass legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus’ 18 majors. Currently, Tiger has 14 major titles.
However, little contention exists in claiming that Tiger’s reemergence as a top contender in golf has been nothing short of remarkable.